Art Fair Insiders

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Wobbly Economy May Benefit Summer Events

How is that for an upbeat headline? We are just not going to let the economy get us down.

Last week I was interviewed by Chris Coates of the Suburban Journals that cover the St. Louis vicinity about my feelings about economic conditions and their effect on the summer fairs.

It is a pretty comprehensive story that includes new details on the recent Belleville, IL, Fair on the Square, plus prognostications for the future.

Who would have thought I would become an expert after all the years spent putting up the art fair booth in sweltering, torrential or freezing weather, dogs peeing on the tent, sweeping the streets to keep the booth clean and the rest of the unglamorous tasks associated with the art fair business?

The people Chris talked to discussed not only the economy but what they are doing to combat it for their fairs.

Ask Roy-el Catering co-owner Sherry Nungesser what's to blame for stagnant sales during the annual Art on the Square festival last weekend in Belleville, and the response is quick.

And, for once, the recession is off the hook.

The subtle difference is an important indicator to the legions of mostly volunteers who plan, budget and execute dozens of local community and church fairs across the region every spring and summer. Many take months of coordinating and huge sums to pull off, all with the goal of boosting community spirit, raising money or both.

Such conditions would seem to put community fairs in the crosshairs of the current recession, which has cut revenues for numerous groups, especially for nonprofits.

But many planners are adamant that won't be the case. The reason: More people are avoiding vacations and staying home, making them a prime customer for summertime festivals oozing with community spirit.

Read the rest of the article here, keep your chins up and hope for the best: Summer fair planners hope locals stay local

Views: 51

Comment by Esther Jobrack on May 29, 2009 at 10:06pm
My experience as recently as 2 weeks ago, was that there were plenty of lookers, but no buyers. All sales were down the entire show. People were staying home, but using the festival as window shopping, since that is free, and going down to buy lunch and listen to the free band.


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