1. St. Charles, IL- Rain, rain, rain. Light rain on Saturday, total monsoon on Sunday morning that shut us down. Aside from that, it was a great first fair experience. The people running the show were very nice, and well organized, and despite the rain I still managed to make a little bit of money on Saturday. Several other artists that do the show every year said that it really is a good show for them, so I'm going to give it another try next year.
2. Cambridge Pottery Festival (Cambridge, WI)- I was really excited to do this show, since I've been hearing good things about it for years. I wasn't disappointed. It's set up in a huge park, so there was plenty of room for everyone to shop and for my boys to run amuck. Cambridge had the easiest setup of the entire summer. I was able to pull my car right up to my booth location and leave it there during the whole show. Piece of cake. Sales were very good for me, and I met a lot of great potters. I'll definitely be doing it again.
3. Spring Green, WI- Another great show. Easy setup on Friday night, and great people. The show is set up in a straight line down 5 or 6 blocks of the downtown, with booths on both sides of the street, so there are no bad booth assignments. Sales were great, and I won first place in ceramics so I get automatic entry into next year's show. I'm definitely going back.
4. Skokie Art Guild Fair (Skokie, IL)- Skokie was not a good show for me, or for most of my neighbors. The weather was hot, my booth location was awful, and attendance was horrid. There just weren't very many shoppers. The folks running the show were very nice, so I can't complain there, but I will not be going back to this show.
5. Kohler Art Center Festival (Sheboygan, WI)- What a great show! The quality of the art work was excellent, and the show was very well organized. They know what they're doing. I had my best one-day sales the first day of this show, but the second day was awful. The weather report said it was supposed to be brutally hot, so it scared everyone away to the beach. The heat wasn't nearly as bad as predicted, but I think everyone had already made plans. Luckily a customer called me the next day and ordered a sink, which bumped my sales up to a respectable number. I'll definitely be applying to Kohler again next year.
6. Clear Lake Art Sail (Clear Lake, IA)- I decided to do this show because it was near our favorite summer vacation spot, and it was just a one day show. Attendance was great, but people were not buying. Luckily some family friends made up for it and I had a really good day, but without them I would have been lucky to cover the cost of the booth and the gas to get there. I will not be doing this show again.
Annie had to ride in the front seat all the way to Iowa.
7. Racine Art Guild Starving Artists Show (Racine, WI)- The morning rainstorms combined with being a Sunday meant that this show didn't really get started until 11am. Then everyone packed up at 3pm to avoid another storm that ended up going south and missing us completely. So this was really only a 4 hour sale, and in that sense it was a good 4 hours. That said, I don't plan on going back. I only sold small things, and the overall attendance was not that good.
8. ASOA Oak Park Fair- I think this fair needs to be scheduled differently. It is currently a 2 day fair, on Friday and Saturday. Friday, for me, was a complete waste of time. Saturday started and ended good, but was bad in the middle due to a mid-day rain storm. I think it could be a nice little one day (Saturday) show, assuming they also increased the quality of the work. Until then, I'm out.
9. Bucktown Arts Fest (Chicago, IL)- This was my most highly anticipated show of the season. Bucktown is a hip neighborhood full of young professionals just waiting to spend a ton of money on handmade objects, right? Apparently not. I had an awful weekend. I think this fair is as much of a block party as it is an art fair. So while there were a ton of people milling about, I just wasn't making any sales. And those pieces I did sell were all on the small side. I think my location had something to do with it, but I also think that most of the people there were just out looking for something to do close to home. And to top it all off, setup and teardown were awful and my booth was on such a steep hill that it took me an hour just to get my shelves set up. I may try it again if I can get a different booth location and if there aren't any other shows that weekend that look better.
My view at the Bucktown fair.
The outdoor theater was right in front of my booth.
10. Mt. Mary Starving Artists Show (Milwaukee, WI)- Best show ever! One day, easy setup, close parking and awesome attendance. Everything sold at Mt. Mary must be $100 or less, so there are a ton of bargains to be found. Even with a $5 entrance fee, there were several hundred people lined up to get in at 10am. I sold more than the entire Skokie show in the first 20 minutes! Sales slowed down after 1pm, but I did as well as my best 2 day shows. I hope to get into this show for many years to come!
The crowd waiting to get into the Mt. Mary fair.
Overall, it was a great summer. I made a lot more money than if I had stayed home, met some great people, and learned a lot about what people want when shopping for pots. I'll apply to at least half of this year's shows again next year, and try out a few new ones. Meanwhile, I've got two holiday shows to get ready for. Details coming soon.....