Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Got a call this morning from Nels. "Why don't you write up the show, I left early Sunday morning".
I remember hearing that at the show Sunday morning, and saying to my wife, "There's a smart man!" The weather report was as bleak as it could be. We would be hit by rain around 1 PM and it would last all afternoon.
Tarpon Springs is a small town with a lot of character. The tourist draws are the sponge docks and the Greek food. I've done the art festival off and on for 2 decades and have been in most locations throughout the park. Some locations are better than others. I have gravitated to the hardest location to set up, but where the sales, for me, are consistently good.
The Park is hastily fenced around its perimeter on Friday so an entry fee can be charged. The artists can load in on Friday too, but the degree of difficulty is in direct proportion to your assigned spot. Mine is a cart-in from 50 yards away, if I can get one of 2 parking spots. Tear-down is worse, sometimes 100 yards and then carrying everything up a grassy hill to the curb. I couldn't have left Sunday morning even if I had wanted to. Nels is always in a different area and this year he had a perfect load-in/load-out spot, but he said it lacked steady traffic and therefore, sales.
He shared his number with me and, really, I only made a few hundred more on Saturday. Oh, by the way, Saturday was a perfect day! Great crowds and lots of people carrying bags.
The show hours were 9 to 5 on Saturday and 10 to 5 on Sunday. We arrived at 9:30 Sunday morning and found the parking difficult and the crowd huge. They were letting people in early due to the threat of rain. By the time I got back from parking many blocks away, Kim had the booth open and was putting up as many awnings as we had. I mention this because a year earlier, we couldn't do this even though we had the same booth number in the show.
Let me digress to editorialize to promoters everywhere:
When an artist requests the same booth number they had last year, they don't really mean the same number, we mean the same real estate! Last year when we arrived for set-up Friday afternoon, we found another booth set up in the spot we had had for several years in a row. We had to set-up in the grove of trees where a booth had never been set up before. It seems a volunteer didn't realize a booth should not be placed there, but there I was, same number, but one space away from "my" spot. Same thing happened to me in Naperville last year. "Spot" means location not number!
So, last year when the rains came we could not put any awnings out. This year, when the rain came, there was no reason to. The crowd evaporated so fast we just dropped our sides. Up to that point, sales were fantastic and we did as well in a few hours as we did all day, Saturday. The show was officially closed and artists were given permission to tear down in the poring rain.
Several artist joined us in drinking beer (the beer booth stayed open) and we sat in the booth plugging leaks and telling stories for a couple of hours until one of my loading spots opened up and then we proceeded to pack-out in a steady drizzle.
That makes two weeks in a row of short Sunday afternoons and a lousy pack-up. Between the cold and the rain this year, Florida has been pretty miserable.