One of the ways many artists and crafters are using to sell their work is through arts and crafts festivals, country fair style shows and country craft festivals. Many of these festivals have large audiences of potential customers come to the event, meander through the arts, crafts, music and food booths, and would love to take home something that is handmade by an artist or craft maker.
Often, the fees to have a booth are reasonable and though some artists craft to suit the theme of the show – cherry blossom artwork or apple themed artwork and crafts, for instance, anything can be shown and most art styles are appreciated. It isn’t all paintings of old barns and country scenes.
Where To Find Arts and Crafts Fairs, Festivals and Shows
To find listings of art shows, arts festivals, arts and craft fairs, country art festivals and specialty festivals / country fairs – this guide lists them –
If you want to pursue putting your art and crafts into these types of country fairs and art festivals, the first thing to do is to craft pieces of work that are appropriate to the audiences of people who love to attend these events.
Create Artworks and Crafts To Offer At The Arts and Crafts Festivals
There is a vast range of festivals, many of them with a theme from apples and apple blossoms to folk and country arts and crafts. Wonderful pine shelves with pegs for holding coats, hats and scarves are still very popular items with a touch of country art on them hand-painted and similar items. But, so are more contemporary designs with farmhouse appeal, watercolors of apple blossoms mounted and framed, prints and hand-crafted items too.
After finding some of the arts and crafts festivals you want to enter, check the directory or using the name of the event, go through google to find it. Somewhere on the event’s page will be a call to artists and crafters to have a booth. There is usually a separate place for vendors to have tables, and usually non-handcrafted items are intended to be in the vendor areas.
Decide On What Type of Booth – Art / Craft Booth Or Vendor Table
Sometimes, artists and crafters get vendor tables to be closer to the areas of the show where music is being played, dance performances are happening and food sales are being made, but it isn’t necessary to be seen by doing it that way because crowds typically want to see all of the things at these festivals and will wander throughout the various areas of booths that are there.
Most shows require fees, photographs of what your display will be, sometimes insurance also. There are sales taxes to collect and remit and some states require a sale tax number to show at art shows.
Some Art Festival Type Shows Have Juried Portions For Artworks and Crafts
There are arts and crafts festivals that have a portion which is juried with ribbons, certificates or occasionally, prize money for the top three places in various categories. Most of the festivals want the artists and crafters to do well and try to place their booths to get as much traffic as possible.
If there are prizes for the juried portion, sometimes those artists and crafters who entered the juried part of the show may be put in a distinct area and sometimes, in an inside gallery area together. There are often submission and entry fees for the juried portion of the show.
Prepare Your Artworks and Crafts To Be Displayed For The Show Or Festival
Almost all arts shows and festivals require basic things and for the protection of your artwork and handcrafted items, most of these are common sense requirements, like frames on artworks, stable hanging systems for them, stands for crafts and sculptures to be stable and strong so that people walking by can’t knock the pieces over accidentally, covering electrical cords you may need for your display so people can’t be tripped by them, and an uncluttered access to see your work in your booth.
Finding the shows where you think your work will fit and then making some pieces to go into the show, paying the fees and registering, getting approved to participate and getting everything ready is not everything that needs to be done. The booth elements need to be designed and photographed so you can submit them if needed by the show rules. The displays for the artworks and crafts need to be decided upon, designed and made if necessary and part purchased that will be needed.
Get The Working Parts Together For The Show – Canopy, Tables, Chairs
For outdoor art shows and festivals, an overhead canopy is typically necessary. Get one that can have sides added for the evening and tied down. Most people placing their canopies have something to hold them down to the ground in wind and rain too – usually gallon jugs filled with sand or some other heavy tie down system to keep it from blowing away or being knocked over.
There will need to be tables and chairs if those are going to be part of the display or pedestals, shelving or whatever is going to hold handcrafted work, some system that allows hanging artworks if not provided by the show, and lighting for it. All of these tables, shelves, display elements as well as the canopy must be set up before the show and then taken down afterwards, so it is important to keep in mind the difficulty of managing that alone or with the help of one other person when buying these or making them.
Moving Artworks and Craft Pieces To And From The Show, Festival or Fair
Framed works of art with glass must be handled from your studio or home to the show without being broken, which means packing blankets or wrap to cover them on route, plus very possibly having a dolly to move them from your vehicle to the booth space without killing your back doing it. There are some great dollies and hand-trucks now that collapse to a very small footprint and carry a lot to the location. It is well worth getting a couple of these to move things back and forth from the house to the car and from the car to the show booth which is often not close to the off-loading areas.
So, now you’ve put together a display system, bought a canopy that is easy to put up and take down, filled some jugs with sand and put a rope on them, found a dolly, made some artworks and framed them, maybe made some crafts and finished them to show, registered for the show and paid the fees. Then, what?
Get Another Person To Help Attend The Arts and Crafts Festival With You To Help
Next is to arrange for someone or more than one person to help you do the show. Things need to be carried and set-up, but also being the only person to watch your booth for the entire show can be impractical. Sooner or later, you have to get bathroom breaks, go get some food, have some time to regroup, take a serenity break from the crowds for a few minutes, whatever it may be.
Some shows have hosts and hostesses that will sit with your booth while you run do those things for a few minutes to maybe a half hour at a time throughout the show, but usually – you need someone who can come do the show with you, even if you have to pay someone to relieve you for part of the day or stay throughout the whole thing and help with setup and breakdown.
Get Sales Tax Forms And Tax ID Number Certificate
One other reminder very briefly – the tax forms are sometimes available at the arts and crafts festivals and sometimes the show producers will note that you need to get that before showing and collecting sales tax.
Definitely track the costs of all these things you are buying and putting together as you go along – in a folder specifically for each show or note them on a spreadsheet as you go. That and having the forms ready or submitted for the sales tax, and the registration card or tax id number where you can take it to the show with you (they usually have to be on location with you, and shown to the tax representative, if requested), will make the process a lot easier as you go.
Things To Remember To Have For The Arts and Crafts Fair / Festival
Remember to include the show fees and insurance with the costs of everything needed to do the show. And, always ask if electricity is available for your booth, or only certain booths and if there is any extra cost for having it. Never, never do an arts or crafts festival as an exhibitor without a chair, a jug of water to drink and quickly rinse your hands off, if you must – and a cup to put it in. Just saying – from experience.
- cricketdiane, 04-11-2018
I’ve been creating nearly every day since I was a kid and that is over 50 years. I’ve created in numerous ways in a range that moves from art to problem-solving to inventing, creating music, sculpting and painting to writing and doing various computer / online based projects.
“It is better to make the effort to move forward and release the flow of ideas to work with them and do things creatively, create things and invent and write and make – I definitely know that by experience.” – cricketdiane, 2018
You can find more of my art and designs here –
and other blog writings by me here –
The website for Cricket House Studios Art and Design is found here –
And see my current efforts on GoFundMe to make a board game I created into a video game that I’m working on right now –