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Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained...Cheyenne Arts Festival

Got back from the Cheyenne Arts Festival on Monday in where? Cheyenne, WY. The Festival takes place inside and in front of the historic train depot in downtown Cheyenne which, in and of itself, is quite quaint. Cheyenne being less than 2 hours away from Denver, I thought I'd try something different.

Just The Facts...

Show Hours and Dates: Cheyenne Arts Festival, Cheyenne, WY. August 18-20 (about the third weekend in August) Friday 5-9, Saturday 9-8 and Sunday 11-5. Art, crafts, music, kid stuff... This show can be found on the Café call for entry website.

Logistics:

Load in for the show was Friday morning starting at 9 am. As I am less than 2 hours away I didn't have to spend money on a hotel room which probably was going to be over priced because of the solar eclipse anyway. Got there just before 9 and got lots of help from volunteers and Bill Lindstrom, the Executive Director of the show, unloading my van. As it was early there wasn't a lot of interference from other artists unloading so it all went well. The finer arts were inside the renovated and historic train depot with a few more outside, craftier items along with music and kids stuff were in the front area of the depot.  There wasn't a lot of space inside the depot for storage and as parking was a few blocks away whatever I had in my booth was going to have to suffice. A few of the booths set up in such a way so that they did have some storage.

Amenities:

Water,  water and water, and volunteer booth sitters. Additionally, the show hosted a social on Friday night with a free glass of wine and enough snacky stuff to suffice for dinner, a tip o' the hat to the many volunteers who showed up frequently with water and for those occasional breaks. Did I mention water? Didn't seem like being inside with air conditioning would require much hydration but Cheyenne is at a higher elevation and for some reason I needed to drink a lot! Stay hydrated my friends!

Storage, Booth Space, Load-In/Out:

Depending on where you were situated there was room to spare or none at all. I had no space behind my booth for storage others had some. As stated above load-in was easy as I beat most of the crowd setting up first thing Friday morning. Load-out was fairly chaotic but most people behaved and I got out, as usual, in just under 2 hours. Again, those great volunteers helped make everything run smoothly getting my stuff to the curb so that I could get it all stuffed back into my van.

Demographics/Buying Trends:

As this show takes place in the middle of the old downtown Cheyenne there were a variety of types milling about. I found that the mid-age group were the buying type although occasionally, the millennials were buying as well, older folks, as is usually the case, were out for a stroll. Those that were buying seemed very engaged, knowledgeable or asked reasonable questions (with the occasional, "Didja take all these pitchers?"). Most of my sales were of the higher end matted stuff, I'm not complaining! One out-of-towner bought a good sized wood plaq to be sent to her in Maryland. Yes, there were a lot of out-of-town folks here most likely for the solar eclipse trip to Casper, WY.

I inquired about how the crowd this weekend compared to previous shows. It seems that this was a busy show mostly on Sunday as tour buses from Greeley, CO were ship'n 'em in, otherwise it would have been a very slow weekend. Friday night was the best sales period, Saturday (a long day) was slow and Sunday nary a sale to be had.

Quality/Range of Art:

From my survey of booths the work was variable. The booths inside the depot were of the finer art variety and stuff outside was less so, more of the handmade variety.

Food:

As this was the downtown area of Cheyenne there are plenty of good places to eat nearby, but getting there during the show was not easy. There were two very close places, one inside the depot and one across the street. The depot place had a limited menu, mostly beer there, but the sliders I had were very good as was the kale salad! The place across the street was marginal. There were no food trucks nearby. I think I heard they were all at some other goings on. Ice cream was not too far away either.

Reflections:

This was a first time show for me. I enjoyed and appreciated how engaged the people were with the art at the show but alas they did not show all of their appreciation with purchases.

Okay, now for the star rating! I'd give this show ✩✩ out of 5 and that is because of the nice job of logistics, amenities, booth sitting, and management, etc. As far as the buying goes, I'd give it  1/2 . I didn't lose money doing this show but I didn't make any either. That's not exactly how it needs to be.

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Comment by Connie Mettler on September 7, 2017 at 12:12pm

right ... but would an artist have made that choice?

Comment by S Brian Berkun on September 7, 2017 at 10:38am

The eclipse may have had something to do with it also as Casper was in the path of totality and not far from Cheyenne, just speculating of course!

Comment by Connie Mettler on September 7, 2017 at 10:16am

I get it for you and the distance, plus you just reinforced my pitch when shows ask me how are my local lists for their shows and I always say that my artist lists are not broken down by region because you never know when someone wants a vacation in Cheyenne or there is family nearby ... betcha some of those out of staters were looking for adventure, another perk of this business.

Comment by S Brian Berkun on September 6, 2017 at 6:41pm

The show is well run. Mostly localish artists but some came from, Idaho, Nebraska, Montana, Tennessee! If it was much further than 2 hours I wouldn't have done it.

Comment by Connie Mettler on September 6, 2017 at 9:14am
Just getting a chance to read this. Thanks for all the details. Really thorough. Makes me want to visit Cheyenne. Sounds like they run a very nice show. Do you think most of the exhibitors were locals? And, if so, or not, how far do you think a person should drive to do this show?
Comment by DORI SMITH on August 26, 2017 at 9:16pm
I enjoy reading your reviews.
Comment by S Brian Berkun on August 23, 2017 at 4:33pm

Most likely not, I've had more than my fair share of failures! ;-P

Comment by Lawrence M. Sawyer on August 23, 2017 at 1:42pm

All the logistics and amenities in the world don't pay the bills, but they do make failure a little more bearable. Will you do it again?

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