September 9th-11th I went to Rochester, MI, for the Art and Apples Festival, run by the Paint Creek Arts Center. Here's how it went.
You can scroll past The Narrative to see more succinct reviews of specific areas.
The Narrative: I drove the five-ish hours to the park in Rochester to set up for the show. After navigating the load-in process, I set up and got ready for the Friday evening opening. We were only selling for a few hours on Friday, then all day Saturday and Sunday. The weather was so rough on Friday night going into Saturday. Windy and rainy, and all of the booths were in the grass so we had plenty of mud. The crowd wasn't amazing because of that, but it was still decent considering it. Sorry, I don't have a ton to add for this show because I put off writing about it for a couple of weeks due to being sick and moving to a new apartment, life stuff. Trying to be better about that going forward!
The Hotel: I got a room at an Extended Stay America about ten minutes from the festival site. I used Priceline Express deals and paid $120 for three nights (that's the nightly rate plus service fees from Priceline). It was nice and clean, and I had a little kitchenette. Good stuff!
The Crowd: Mostly middle-aged to upper-middle-aged people. They weren't buying as much as I had anticipated (though that seems to be a theme this season), and there were a lot of people throwing out unsolicited advice. Obviously there will always be people with positive things to say and people with negative things to say, but in this bunch there seemed to be an abundance of negativity, and I was not too pleased about it.
The Town/Venue: Um, Rochester is pretty fancy. The houses are HUGE. For those familiar with Pittsburgh, I'm talking 5th Avenue in Shadyside huge, but very new. Some were even still being built. The show was held in the municipal park, which was large and lovely. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was a rule that during special events, dogs are not allowed in the park. So disappointing.
Other Vendors: There was a lot of unique and impressive work from the other vendors. It was great to be among such high-quality artists. That said, there were also some vendors who were DIVAS. There were a few ladies in particular selling clothing who were complaining the entire time about everything (load-in, the set-up, the weather, etc.) and gossiping with other vendors behind their booth. So silly. I'm sorry that you don't like some things, but wow, you're being dramatic about it.
Load In/Out: Kind of tricky. There were two entrance points, and we were given a map marking them. But it was still confusing, so of course I showed up at the wrong one. Once I found the right entrance and drove into the park, I was able to pull my car fairly close to my spot. As time went on, the area filled up with cars and things got pretty hectic. I pulled my car away to the side so that it wasn't in the way, but there were a few vehicles with trailers that were taking up a lot of space so that other vehicles couldn't get through. Loading out was a similar situation. Not ideal, but I've experienced load-ins/outs that have taken longer or been less organized.
The Staff: They were super friendly! Each section had a staff person to watch booths who came around to everyone to see if they needed a break. There was also a tent for artists to visit that had free snacks and drinks for us.
The Dollars: $120 for hotel; ~$80 for about 2.5 tanks of gas; $450 booth fee; $60 electricity fee; ~$2100 in purchases. That's about $1400 profit.
Liked: The staff, the venue, hotel.
Didn't Like: Crowd negativity and low spending, dogs not allowed (SO SAD), and load-in/out.
Overall: 7/10. Not sure about this one. People have the spending power but weren't spending. It's hard to say whether I should blame that on the show or this overall slow show season. I'll see how I'm feeling in a few months before I decide whether to do this one again.
Next is Oktoberfest in Dayton, Ohio.