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Port Clinton Art Festival, Highland Park IL



Just got back home from doing the Port Clinton Show. This was our first time here and what an event. It is run by Amdur Productions. This was our first Amdur show. They put on a lot of the Chicago area shows and this was by far our best Chicago area art show.

Where to start. The show is on the streets in the town center with nice stores and restaurants. The taste of highland park happens at the same time and runs in the middle of the show. There is a music stage that has some pretty cool bands. The booths are on the streets across from each other. The artists who show are some of the best of the best. The patrons are qualified. Their homes have space for work. There are around 250 artists. The attendance is high. Read between the lines, this is a great venue for selling work. Weather was very nice, high 70s with very little rain and no wind.

Set up is on Friday. You are assigned a specific time to come in. Some times are early Friday some are later in the afternoon. If you cant make your time you can come in after 6 pm or something close to that time or early Saturday morning. Amdur runs a tight ship and has excellent communication before during and after the show. Drop off your stuff go park and come back to set up. If everyone follows the instructions it all goes smooth and most artists do follow the rules. Artist parking is awesome. Lots of parking really close to the show and many have their vehicle right near their booth. Unique to this show is booth and room around your booth. You are allowed to have clean and tight storage behind your booth with in limits. If you want more room behind your booth you can pay an extra fee to spread out. Blowing out is not allowed. I like this. It keeps the show looking clean. Vehicles are parked close to booths so one can easily store extras in their vehicles with out looking like a storage unit behind the tents.

The show runs Saturday and Sunday 10-6 both days. We arrived Saturday around 9 am to finalize set up. The first thing I saw when I walked into the show was a big sponser booth, set up at entrance not very close to artists, of about 10 salon stations. It was a Dyson hairdryer station. You could go have your hair blown out after setting up!!! The second thing I saw at the main stage was morning yoga happening before the show opened!!! Pics below you may recognize some artists going into triangle or something like that. I was more then a little excited. Saturday morning the people were there at 10 am and the booths around me with smaller work were selling, wrapping work up and even had people waiting in line. Around noon I started to see large work walk by and out at a regular pace, like every 15 minutes. By 1 pm we started selling. We had a good day. One thing I wish I would have been warned about was people wanting to negotiate pricing. No one there needed a discount but it seemed to be expected. I don't think it mattered the price point they just wanted a discount. Something to remember.

Sunday light rain was in the forecast but who the heck knew when, its Chicago near the lake. There is a great awards breakfast before the show. Normally I sleep and don't care about the breakfast, usually bagels and sugary stuff. Michael had deliveries scheduled all morning, we deliver Sunday mornings since there is no traffic. So I was dropped off early, 8 am, and went to a real artist breakfast. Hot food, eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, great coffee, you get the gist. Like I mentioned I usually don't make the breakfast but this one was done very well and was a great chance to visit friends. Amy did a very nice presentation and it was fun to see the award winners. It started to rain lightly when the show opened but stopped around noon I think. Sunday sales were even stronger compared to Saturday and continued until close. I know a lot of Patrons tried to come at the end to get a deal but work had already been sold. Many artists had amazing shows and the other artists I talked to had good enough shows to want to return.

Break down, we were scheduled for rain early on but we were able to pack up dry. Break it down to the side get a load out pass get your vehicle blah blah. You know the drill. On Saturday we were in the parking lot with in walking distance to our booth. This would have been perfect for break down and get us out fast. Fortunately we had delivers ALL day on Sunday, Michael was barely at the show, so we couldn't get into the dolly out parking on site. It didn't matter. We were able to get our vehicle in easy once we were ready. The staff were on it and kept it running clear. No easy feat with a street show.

Obviously we loved our first Amdur show. The staff did a great job and pulling off a show like this was not easy. Amy the director came by at least 3 times maybe more to speak with us. As she did with everyone. Oh and here is another thing I loved, for the ladies besides hair and yoga, the porta potties had real running water. I actually preferred the porta potties over the restaurant bathrooms. We also really enjoyed the patrons at the show even with them asking for discounts. Not only were the adults interested in the work but so were the kids. We had a family who became collectors and the kids got ahold of the certificate that we give with the art and the kids put their names on the certificate before their parents had a chance to do it. The poor kids got into some trouble. When the family came back to get a replacement the kids were soooo excited we let them keep the forged document. Small thing for us but maybe we had created future art collectors. Finally lodging. There are no hotels with in walking distance of the show. The only air bnbs are huge mansions so you would need about 8 set of artists to share. If you don't mind air bnbing a private room you may luck out. The hotels are about 10-20 minute drive away. We stayed at the closest hotel a Courtyard with artist rate around $100. There are a bunch of hotels with in a 15-20 minute drive. If you wait and price line a 4 star hotel you can get a great deal around $70. Some shows this works some don't. This is a show you can wait and get a wonderful deal and be spoiled.

Views: 747

Comment by Nels Johnson on August 31, 2017 at 8:05am
Great report.
I did this show years ago, but it is not my market.
That said, PC is Amy's crown jewel. Glad you killed there.
Comment by margaret luttrell on September 1, 2017 at 12:57pm

Glad it was a good show for you. I did Port Clinton back in 2014 and it was a miserable show for me as I was put two feet away from a band (really)and nobody could hear me. Not only did I not make expenses but I remember having a heck of a headache all weekend. Haven't done one of Amy's shows since. Maybe they have changed...Sounds like you did really well...Congrats!

Comment by Melanie Rolfes on September 3, 2017 at 10:01pm
Nels sorry it's not your market. I know the feeling. Around me lots of different price points and styles were selling.

Marge right next to the stage is the worst. I visited friends near the stage and it wasn't too bad. The speakers seemed to go directly into the food area BUT I didn't visit those right next to the stage. We were on the same street as stage and not too far and it was no problem. Saying that I have been at other shows when the music has hurt us. It is a bad experience.

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