This is the first show I'm writing about, and I was hoping it would be a good one. It wasn't.
You can scroll past The Narrative to see more succinct reviews of specific areas.
The Narrative: I arrived in Allen Park, MI, around 7pm on Thursday, August 4th. Check-in was from 5-8, and then I could set up for as long as I needed to. Easy check in, drove right up to my spot to unload and set up. I hadn't counted on the mosquitoes that ended up joining me for this portion of the evening, but at least I had company. I drove to my hotel, a Quality Inn & Suites near the Detroit airport that I booked through Hotels.com for $68/night ($206 for three nights after fees and all). It was clean, and their staff was friendly. My room even had a mini-fridge, a microwave, and a couch. In the morning, I enjoyed a standard continental breakfast (not exceptional, but free!) and headed to work. This show was all day Friday and Saturday. All day being 10am til 9pm, which is a painfully long day if things are not selling, which they weren't. Really, I sat there all day Friday and sold one cup. In the middle of the day, there was a sudden downpour. I had one of the side walls of my tent taken down for airflow, so I got soaked putting it up. Before I could get it up, one of the soaked curtains on that side was whipped by the wind onto a shelf, creating a domino effect in mugs. RIP, five mugs that were smashed and/or chipped in this tragedy. Unfortunately, that's something I've learned not to get too bent out of shape about. I've broken too many things at this point to give it much worry. Besides, there were more important things to worry about, like how I would look like a drowned rat for the rest of the day while interacting with potential customers. I was also supposed to have electricity (I paid $40 extra for it). However, the outlets were at the tops of the streetlight poles, and they could only be reached by a tall ladder (that I didn't have). Initially, I was sharing an outlet with the booth the town's police department had across the street from me. They were running a fancy police simulator of some kind and blew the circuit, so they unplugged us both and moved to another outlet, plugging themselves in but not me. After that, I didn't see any staff person until Saturday afternoon, so I had no way to get re-connected to electricity. So, no fans or lights for me! Like I said, I sold one cup all day on Friday, nothing more. Naturally, I was feeling pretty down, so I just got some wine and ice cream to keep me company that evening before bed. Saturday was a bit of an improvement. I sold eleven mugs, one shot glass, and seven pocket flutes/napkin rings. I also won 2nd place (who won 1st??), so I got $200! At 5pm, a church group showed up and decided that on the sidewalk next to my booth would be the perfect place to do some preaching/yelling. I'm all for free speech and all, but people maneuvered to the other side of the street to avoid them, thereby avoiding my booth as well. Also, they were LOUD. One of them came into my booth to give me a pamphlet and try to talk to me about Jesus. I just smiled and nodded, telling him exactly what I knew he wanted to hear to get him out of my booth as quickly as I could. I know Jesus is important to you, but can you not try to evangelize me while I'm working, please? It was also just so negative. All fire and brimstone, accusatory stuff. They left after three hours. At least one nice woman with them bought a mug. At the end of the night, I packed up in about two hours and went back to the hotel, watched a little tv, and left for home in the morning. I didn't go out to eat, drink, or be merry anywhere, partially because of the show hours, partially because I didn't see anywhere that really piqued my interest, and partially because I was feeling salty that the town didn't want to support me by buying my work, so I didn't want to support their economy back! All in all, I'm disappointed, and I'm ready to move on to my next show and forget all about this one.
The Crowd: Not a huge crowd. Interesting group. Not afraid to tell me that they thought my work was too expensive. Not enough people had dogs with them. One woman suggested to me that I put leaf imprints on my pots because they do that in New York and maybe I don't know about that technique. Well, dear, I don't want my pots to be like everyone else's, sorry not sorry! The people here are not music people, a lot of them just did not get what I do.
The Town: Strip malls. So many run-down strip malls. Not very interesting. Some cute houses though!
The Music: They had live music at two stages, one of which I could hear from my booth. The groups that played all had pretty decent sound (not actually sure if it was different groups or just one group?). They played all covers of a lot of classic songs. I didn't love it, but it was good for what it was.
Other Vendors: Honestly, I didn't see a lot of original work. If you want generic art fair objects at low prices, this might be the place for you.
Load In/Out: Easy! Best part of the show. I could pull my car right up to my spot, and I didn't even have to deal with the usually vendor traffic jam.
The Staff: Extremely inattentive. I didn't have the electricity I paid for because I didn't ever see them. I saw them at check-in, then on Saturday when a couple came around for judging. That couple were so kind, though! They talked to me for a while about my business and how it was going, and I told them about it honestly. They came by twice more later in the day, once to deliver my award, and once to buy some things. So kind.
The Dollars: $206 for hotel; ~$90 for three tanks of gas; $200 booth fee. $200 award; ~$600 in purchases. That's about $300 profit. Not good.
Liked: My hotel, the load in/out process, that one staff couple.
Didn't Like: No electricity, no enforcement of buy/sell rules (there were definitely buy/sell vendors there, despite the rules in the show descriptions banning them), inattentive staff, low customer interest.
Overall: 1/10. Definitely not going back. Very unimpressed. I feel that the show description given was untrue to what the show truly is. It is probably an appropriate arts festival for the area's demographic, but the description should have more accurately depicted it. Show description given with application here.
My next show is in Cleveland, and it should be an improvement. Check back in two weeks and I'll tell you about it!