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Well, just finished up our first fall show in Florida. For us this event was a first time as participants. It is only about 120 miles one way so the drive is relatively easy for us. We had called in advance about parking for our RV and were told they had availability on a first come first served basis. So we headed out hoping to arrive about 2 hours prior to the official setup time thinking we would get all nice and parked with our rig. We arrived to find the artist lot completely full as they also use it to park the public all day long. We were lucky enough to find an area along a curb inside the lot were we could stash the RV. So much for our plan. Anyway we located some nice folks with the show and let them know what we had done and it was all good with them as long as we were not blocking traffic etc. The staff was very friendly and helpful, we found our spot and setup was easy with us lucking out and finding a parking space on the main street right at the curb near our booth. Let me mention that the Amtrak railroad station is behind the park were the show takes place and they are doing construction all along the tracks on one side of the park so load in and out are only from the opposite side right now. This jammed things up a bit but everyone seemed to be cooperating with each other to get it done. Weather for the show was bright and sunny, not too warm for Florida. Crowds were steady both days and the interest level of the patrons was pretty high. We gave out a ton of business cards over the 2 days. Most patrons seemed knowledgeable and art savy. Our sales were in the fair to good category. One more good sale would have pushed it well into the good range and we were close more than a few times. We even were selected for judging with a brand new piece which was a thrill as it does not seem to happen very often. The artist awards and diner were nice and the staff, volunteers and support personel like the local Police dept were all friendly and helpful. A refreshing thing to find out there on the road. For load out they even changed it up a bit by closing the street to traffic on the one side and getting us all in to load with angled parking which went fast and easy. Cudos to the organization. A pleasure to do this one and start the fall show season.

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Comment by Ken Shields on October 19, 2012 at 9:42am

Glad to hear you had a good show Steve. My experience there was slightly different.  I, and everyone else around me had sales ranging from dismal to pathetic. We were relatively close to the stage and the wine/beer tent.  People were drinking and listening to music, but they were not buying art.

After breaking down my booth, I was instructed by a cop how to get on to Park Ave so I could load up. These directions turned out to be wrong, I know this because another cop yelled at me for not listening to directions, told me to turn around and come back out the way I came and do it right.

I will say that the food at the show was very good. The wood-fired pizza is great.

Comment by Suzanne Ens on October 19, 2012 at 10:24am
Hi Steve, sounds like a pretty good positive experience to start out your FL tour. Do you mind posting a dollar amount range at least, as I have found terms like fair, good and great are relative and subjective. If you're not comfortable giving your sales in a review maybe you could give us a range, eg, $500-2000, $2001-$5000 and so on. Thanks for a nice review!
Comment by Steve Cebula on October 19, 2012 at 11:42am

Suzanne,

Sure I don't mind giving a range. You also have to take into account that shows with higher expenses: booth fee, travel distance etc may require the numbers to be upped a bit. For this event the booth fee was $325 fairly modest by todays standards and the travel was less than 250 miles round trip with no additional fees for parking etc. Poor sales - $0 to $1000, Fair Sales $1001 to $1800, Good Sales $1801 to $2800, Very Good Sales $2801 to $4000 and Woopie! $4000 and up. Our goals are fairly modest at grossing $1000 per day at a show of this type. You know $2000 is the new $5000 these days :). I did have occaision to speak with police officers 3 times during the event and at break down, all were friendly and helpful to me. I did hear there was some initial confusion at breakdown regarding traffic flow. It was the first time they closed Park Ave to traffic for breakdown and they decided to bring food vendors in one way and artists from the opposite direction on the same road to get to Park Ave, this was not clear to those directing traffic at the start and was rectified quickly.

Comment by Suzanne Ens on October 19, 2012 at 12:05pm
Thanks Steve, I appreciate it. I always had in my mind this was more of a whoopie! kind of show lol, but I learned it is more of a fair to good kind of show, not only based on your review but also friends and family who did it for the first time. Naturally we are weighing whether to do it next year, so appreciate it!
Comment by Connie Mettler on October 19, 2012 at 12:05pm

Thanks for this report, Steve. How nice to do a show so close to home and come away with some $$$. I hadn't realized that this fall show is in the same park as the Sidewalk Art Festival in March. Right? Any idea how many exhibitors? It is open only to Florida artists. Do they check ID to insure this?

Hope your next show is even better.

Comment by Steve Cebula on October 19, 2012 at 12:48pm

Yes it is in the same location as the March show, 2 different organizers. It was about 150 exhibitors. All Florida artists, they did see ou driver lic at check in. Thanks for the good wishes. Off to Las Olas Art Festival this coming weekend, love that show!

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