This event takes place in Sequim (pronounced Skwim) which supposedly, if you buy into their marketing, is the sunniest place in Western WA. Yeah right!!! July 20-22 and we had rain on both Friday and Sunday with very gray skies on Saturday, but thankfully one day without rain. The best weather day??? Set up day on Thursday. However, that being said, after participating in this event in the rain, I can definitely see the potential this event has to offer if the weather were sunny. Western WA residents are used to the rain, after all, there is a reason we are the “Evergreen State”. However, rain in July and August? You can’t believe the complaints, grumpy attitudes and just general “grousing” we all participate in, artists, patrons, promoters, volunteers, it affects us all. Shouldn’t we be able to have at least 2 months a year without soggy conditions?? Guess not, for the second year in a row this was a soggy festival and chilly. Temps never really got above the low 70’s at best, many hours in the 50’s and low 60’s. Not typical summer weather. I’ve included a picture of the “lake” in our booth on Friday AM when we opened.
The Lavender festival attracts 500K visitors a year, many who are from out of state. Sequim is located on the Olympic Peninsula along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. On clear, sunny days, you can see Vancouver Island across the strait. It’s a beautiful part of the state and attracts summer visitors who are escaping the heat as well visitors from Seattle who are looking for a fun weekend. The festival has gone through a bit of a change with a split a few years ago and now a separate “Art in the Park” event is being held. I’ve not heard many good reports from that event, most artists there did not fare as well as those of us at the Street Fair that is part of the Lavender Festival. That being said, there seems to be a general consensus that the split of the festival and now having 2 art shows on the same weekend has hurt everyone. Soggy weather didn’t help, but the new event has added other attractions such as a balloon festival and other events that are distracting from what used to be a weekend to attend the street fair and visit lavender farms. I think both shows are suffering from too many add on events that are detracting from the original purpose of the festival.
Load in was easy, all day Thursday, they published times by location. We were there early and our area was virtually empty, the show promoter told us we were more than welcome to load in early. I never really saw any traffic snarls during load in, we were able to leave our truck next to the booth for most of load in, our neighbors showed up when we were about 80% complete so we quickly got our truck out of the way. They also allowed us to park our travel trailer within site of our booth. YES, gotta love that convenience. It made for a very easy early afternoon trip to the trailer to brew more coffee for my husband and make some chai tea for me, and yes, it was chilly enough to make us appreciate having the extra warm beverages. Load out, well, that was another story, no oversight, lots of artists who pulled in well before they were packed up. It was raining during tear down which made it more difficult, we parked at the end of the street and dollied everything about ½ a block. However, we had a “lake” forming in the booth so tear down was challenging, trying to keep everything dry, but not being able to put anything on the ground in about 1/3 of our booth. Yuck, sloppy mess, yep, summer in Western WA.
Sales??? Well, I need to crunch the numbers to see if we do this one again, but they were decent. Friday in the rain was awful, didn’t even make booth ($375), Saturday was a good day, the “be backs” really helped end the day on a positive note. Sunday, about twice of Friday, well less than ½ of Saturday, in the rain. Our last 2 customers spent almost $400 near the end of the day which left us feeling a little better. Without those 2 customers it would have been a dismal day. This show replaced a local, very steady 2 day show for us with a $100 lower booth fee and $200 less in expenses and one where we can sleep in our own bed at home. So, we have to crunch the numbers to see if we decide to try this show again. On a sunny weekend I can definitely see more potential at this show than our local show, but 3 long days vs. 2 short days, hmm, will just have to think about this one some more.
BTW, restaurant recommendation?? Alderwood Bistro, within walking distance of where we parked, has a lovely outdoor garden where you can dine, everything is organic and you see the kitchen help coming out to cut fresh herbs, etc. Doesn’t get much fresher than that, the smoked salmon pizza? Yum!
Thanks for the good report, Ruth. Too bad you had to work in the rain. What a mess. We always appreciate some info on those west coast shows. Could I pester you to leave us a review at www.artshowreviews.com? We can wait until you have a break. Thank you, thank you, thank you :)
Chris - I wrote a blog on Richland last year so you can probably search on that. Last year it was our best show of the year, this year we're off to a slightly slower start but for a 2 day show with the second day being Saturday I'm hoping for a strong finish.
Set up the booth here in Richland and all the wet canopy walls and the ceiling dried really fast!! So nice to have everything dry again.
Annette - we'll crunch the numbers but I still feel like there's good potential on a sunny day.
Oh Ruth, soggy, soggy, soggy! Perhaps give the show another go and see if the weather brings the sales out? Or do it in rotation with your local show - one one year, the other one year etc.? Aren't those last minute sales wonderful!!?