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First time exhibitor at this show. The weather was a big component to this years show. Setup was early Friday, starting at 7 AM, glad I got there early because by 10:34 it started to rain just as I had finished and was ready to leave. It rained throughout the day.

  • Friday evening the show was to be open from 5 - 8 PM, at 7:45 the tornado warning siren went off closing the show for the night, which was pretty well finished anyway, too few people, too few sales.
  • Saturday the show went from 10 - 5 with low numbers of people and no sales for this artist. It was expected to rain and looked threatening all day but it never did materialize.
  • Sunday, 10 - 4 even fewer people at the show, some small sales, off and on rain all day, people stayed and meandered around in between the rain showers. The rain was supposed to be done by 3 so there was some hope that things would be somewhat dry for load out. The rain began again and in earnest at 4. Overall it was a bad sales show with low turnout and low sales.

Amenities were reasonable; coffee, bagels and fruit in the AM, lunch brought to your booth, pizza slice on Friday night and a really nice dinner on Sat at the "Castle" somewhere in Peoria Heights. The Arts Guild was well organized with volunteers and helping artists that needed it but Peoria doesn't seem to have the support for a show of this size. It may need to scale back to 100 artists and reduce the gate fee ($6 this year) to attract more people to the show.

Possible contributing factors to low turnout, Homecoming weekend, kids and parents all over town taking pictures but not coming to the show, Weather..., Apparently in years past one of the major employers in this area has laid off many workers and that may also be a continuing contributing factor.

Would I do this show again, probably not, having read reviews from the recent past it seems nothing has changed, low attendance and low sales. Also, it is too far to drive for too little compensation. Not worth it to me. The only consolation, as I was only 2 hours from Chicagoland I was able to add in a visit to my sister.

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Comment by Jeri Vitello on October 7, 2019 at 7:45am

Great report Brian.  You hit all the major points.  

Although I have done this show only twice (2018 and 2019) this year's sales were much different than last year's sales.  What was a 5K show for me in 2018 turned into a 2K show this year.  There was a significant difference in buying energy from last year to this year.  I have no definitive explanation for the difference.

I know other artists killed it last year.  It would be great to hear them report what they did this year.

Comment by Connie Mettler on October 4, 2019 at 10:57am

Sad to hear this report, Brian. I know artists who return again and again to participate, so someone is making money. It is a lovely setting but rain and tornado warnings exemplify why some artists won't even consider outdoor shows.

The not surprising element here (and why I consistently tell show directors not to limit their advertising to their region) is that you took a chance on this event with the additional impetus to see your sister. 

We really appreciate your reporting in here, Brian. Thank you.

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