There’s a whole vibrant culture around craft and art festivals. Vendors and attendees alike share a passion for both beautiful art and community.
My very first art festival as a vendor was in March of 2016 at the Winthrop Art Festival in Riverview FL. I was so excited to participate in my first official show!
I painted endlessly, putting in so many late nights, to get a good stock of paintings prepared. I had to figure out price tags, and packaging. I didn’t own any sort of tent or tables for display. There’s so much mundane paraphernalia involved in putting on an event. Unless you’ve done it you can hardly imagine what you need to make the magic of an enjoyable, successful, experience. How are you going to get your supplies from the car to your space? What will you do if it rains? Do you have surplus cash for making change?
I borrowed a little pop-up tent. I got a hold of a rickety folding table for setting out my painted rock collection. I bent my budget and bought a cheap wire rack to hang the canvases on. I was as ready as I was going to get.
My newly acquired festival set-up in one hand and my carefully curated array of paintings in the other I set out on a new adventure.
We loaded all the stuff into my little car; it takes some creative packing to get all the strange shapes situated in a car without damaging anything. As it turns out, I didn’t think too carefully about how to get my stuff from the car to the site. I didn’t have a dolly, or a cart, or anything like that. I did, however, have a supportive boyfriend which is basically just as good.
We got everything set up and nervously waited for our first customers. Looking back, I made very little profit out of that event, but in the moment it was the best business I had ever done. I was just beside myself with pride to be there, selling the art I had made with my own hands. Then it rained. We managed to get all the canvases under cover so there were no losses but it did start me thinking. I needed to plan for so many things for the next time.
After that event I did just that, I planned. The next year, when I returned to Winthrop, I placed 3rd in the awards for best in show. The year after that, I got Best in Show. My art has grown over the years but so have my skills in handling the business end; the displays, the paperwork, the marketing, and yes, the dolly too.