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Waterford VA Homes Tour & Crafts Exhibit Oct 1, 2 & 3, 2010

For all the traditional craftsman, this one's for you. This past weekend was the 67th Waterford Homes Tour and Crafts Exhibit held in the quaint, historic village of Waterford, Virginia which is located about forty miles from Washington D.C. The whole village is steeped in tradition and is a National Historic Landmark. For three days they turn back time and present a "teaching fair" featuring eighteenth and nineteenth century crafts. The one hundred and fifty-five exhibitors are required to dress in colonial clothing and demonstrate their craft at least 50% of the time. Throughout the weekend, committee people walk the show and give awards to the best demonstrators. There was also a civil war encampment, musical entertainment, fabulous food, a country store and many more points of interest, all reflecting the colonial theme.
Admission was $17 (per day) at the gate or $15 (per day) in advance. The price of the ticket also included a tour of a select group of homes each. Jury fee was $20 and booth fee was $725 for a space in one of their (big) tents or $500 if you use your own. The first year I did the show, two years ago, I used my tent and I was placed sort of out of the loop. This year I paid the higher fee and I was in the heart of the show. Storage was limited to my 10 x 10 space.
Setup for this show was all day and into the evening on Thursday. They provide security in the tent overnight so you can stay and set up as long as you want. They actually have a guy stay in the tent all night to watch over everything. Because of a lot of rain and muddy conditions, driving up to the booth was prohibited and everything had to be carried/dollied. Parking was close by, maybe a five minute walk.
The weather during the show was nice and sunny with temperatures in the sixties. The estimated attendance was 30,000 and the crowds were good all three days. The only slow time was waiting for foot traffic to reach my area in the morning. Since the show encompasses the whole village, it is quite spread out. Friday was my best day for sales and the serious buyers showed up. Saturday and Sunday sales proved to be one third of what my Friday sales were. Other exhibitors in my area experienced the same thing. BTW, I sculpt folk art dolls and my price range is $75 to $175 with my average price being $135. I sold seventeen dolls and my sales were down about one third from what I did two years ago. So, I covered expenses, I made some money, but I was hoping for more.
Load out was much easier because you were allowed to drive up to your booth. My husband was packed up and ready to go in an hour. Even though there are no artist amenities, this is a wonderful show and once you are juried in, you feel like part of the Waterford family. It is an expensive show to do and when you add up booth fee, motel and gas, the expenses are over $1,000 before you even begin. Looking back, I realize that I needed lower price points and if I do it again, I will address that issue. Let me add that I was not able to be at the show this year due to a medical emergency. The Waterford Foundation was kind enough to allow my husband to fill in for me. I think he did a great job.

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