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Manitou Springs-Commonwheel Labor Day Festival

Due to all the flash flooding, this venue was changed from Memorial Park to Field's Park by the tennis courts. This show has been going on for nearly 40 years in the Memorial Park location, which is central to the downtown area and gets foot traffic from the tourist downtown.

The committee did a good job moving the show. Field's Park is a nice park with more grass and trees than Memorial Park. However, there is a lot less parking and the park is hidden, not viewable from the main streets. Several artists had canceled this show.

Set up and tear down was difficult and required a lot of co-operation with other artists.

This is a 3 day show. Friday we set up. Saturday was HOT and HUMID. Sunday it rained with thunder and lightening, this scared away almost all of the patrons and closed the show early. (Hwy 24 was closed for a while too and customers ran to rescue their cars parked in downtown Manitou. There was street flooding and I was happy to have a big tall van to drive through the water.)  Monday was warm, with artists parking  vehicles curbside early for the dreaded tear down. Most of the artists I know who did this show were down in sales by 50-95%. I actually sold OK, but I think it was due to my mailing list.

This is the first time I can remember with motels/hotels all posting Vacancy. Normally the town is filled. Downtown, local businesses all had sandbags lined up near their front doors, ready for the next flood. Although they are talking about building some ponds to help with the flash floods, those in the know about these things, say this will be an ongoing problem for the next 5-10 years.

I heard that the committee for Commonwheel will be meeting with the mayor and making decisions on whether to cancel this show for next year or attempt to have it again in Fields Park. I like doing this show, and hope it doesn't get canceled. Although I understand the safety concerns.

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Comment by Peggy Crago on September 11, 2013 at 12:08pm
Thanks, Susan. I will add that in spite of the move and less customer parking, I did about what I usually do there - nothing great, but made a profit. That is mostly due to a few loyal customers who look for me every year, so I feel loyal to them as well and look forward to seeing them. I preferred Fields Park - I thought set-up was easier and there was more grass; but we definitely missed the tourist traffic. Otherwise, the show is so slow that I think about not doing it and some friends of mine from Texas who do ceramics said they were only there because they got best of show last year, therefore a free booth this year. They weren't planning to return.
A few additional specifics: most booths get exactly 10 ft. in width with about 3 ft. behind your neighbor in back. You can request the area you'd like to be in, but some of us have felt frustrated that we always end up in the same spot anyway - never backing onto El Paso where load in & out is easiest. Nice people as far as customers, but lots of lookers. There is a music stage at one end of the show, the food is actually decent and not horribly exorbitant: Greek, Thai & crepes.
Comment by Susan Spohn on September 9, 2013 at 10:18pm


Comment by Ruth Jellema on September 9, 2013 at 8:48pm

What state is this?

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