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Pearl Street Arts Festival, Boulder Colorado

This show was two weeks ago so sorry for the lack of timeliness but, seeing as it is already over, it doesn't matter anyway! I skipped this show last year (2016) for some reason, most probably as it wasn't that great the year before.

Just the facts:

Show Hours and Dates: Pearl Street Arts Festival, Boulder Colorado, July 15 - 16.  Sat 10- 6, Sun 10 -5. Applications now are being taken on Zapp.


The show is set up in two locations, you can opt for the Pearl Street Mall with setup on Saturday morning only, beginning at 6 AM or you can choose 14th street with setup on Friday evening beginning at 3 PM. This year I choose a booth on 14th street, having tried Pearl Street all previous years. I showed up Saturday morning as the only one setting up in the wee hours, it was great! I didn't have to fight the crowd!


Water,  water and water, scones  and volunteer booth sitters for the occasional break. Additionally, the show hosted a breakfast with an awards presentation Sunday morning, a tip o' the hat to the volunteers who showed up frequently for those of us needing a break.

Storage, Booth Space, Load-In/Out:

Depending on where you were situated there was room to spare or none at all. I had several feet of space behind my booth for storage and dodging the sun. As stated above load-in was easy as I skipped the crowd setting up Friday evening and opted to wake up early with the Pearl St. crowd for setup. Load-out was fairly chaotic but most people behaved and we got out, as usual, in just under 2 hours.

Demographics/Buying Trends:

As this show takes place in the middle of the old downtown area on Pearl Street 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 and knowledgeable.

Quality/Range of Art:

From my limited survey of booths the work was great! It seems that the show has upped their effort in vetting artists. It was reported in some years previous that the show was losing its grip but it seems that it has regained its footing.


As this is the downtown mall there are plenty of good places to eat nearby so the crowd didn't stray too far. There were also a few high quality food trucks nearby. Coffee, ice cream and other such stuff was not too far either.


This was not a first time show for me. I've been doing this show, or various incarnations of it, since the mid '80's. This show has had various organizations running it under different names. My low end items ($25) didn't sell at all! Yippee! Most purchases were in the mid range ($45-165). As is the case with this show being in mid July it was quite hot and people would head for the shade. The show had the feel of the "old days" when crowds of people would populate my booth attracting more people that wanted to see what was going on. Alas, although there was a lot of excitement there wasn't the accompanying buying. I didn't do terrible but it was one of the better Boulder shows I've done. Would I return? Two years ago, when I was on the mall, it was a definite NO and that's why I didn't do 2016. This year I would say yes as people were interested AND buying.

Why not Pearl St? I've been on the mall multiple times and found that there are so many distractions for people (kids playing on giant toads, rocks to crawl on, street musicians, dirty shoe less types) on the mall that they barely slow down enough to look. I found being on 14th street there were fewer distractions and people took their time to look.

Okay, now for the Dave Piper star rating! I'd give this show ✩✩ out of 5 and that is because of the nice job of logistics, amenities, booth sitting, quality of the art, management, etc. As far as the buying goes, I'd give it  .

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Comment by Layl McDill on August 10, 2017 at 10:12am

I was there last year (2016) and was expecting better.  I was on the mall in a really nice spot but I would agree the buyers just weren't there.  I did crack $1500- I think it was closer to $2000.  If you do several CO shows this one might be worth it but don't travel for just this show.

Comment by Nels Johnson on July 30, 2017 at 8:03am
Sorry to hear that
Comment by S Brian Berkun on July 29, 2017 at 11:55am


Comment by Nels Johnson on July 29, 2017 at 8:50am
So, just curious, did you crack $1500 in sales?

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