I've been doing Shows for years. I started out doing "crafts" in the early '90s, and participated in local town fairs, church fairs, school fairs, etc. When I got really serious about jewelry 8-10 years ago, and realized I'd found my passion, I strived to work my way up to "JURIED ART SHOWS". I've been in a lot locally over the last few years, but have still felt that need to push further and harder... get better pictures.. get in better "art" shows, and leave the "craft" shows behind...... They have served me very well, and are near and dear to my heart, but unfortunately, I've outgrown my audience there. I started applying on Zapplication last year. No luck. I decided it was (hopefully) my pictures. So this year I pushed for more professional pictures. And applied to a couple more online. To my utter delight, I was accepted into the Rising Sun Fine Arts Festival. It was held in Indiana, about 2 hours northeast of me. While excited, I was also QUITE freaked out!!!! It required that any beads in jewelry be made by the artist. AND, I had never attended the show before. That had always been a golden rule of mine. Check out the show before applying the following year. But this one sounded GREAT, so I accepted my invitation and made a reservation at a historic hotel in town for the weekend. Unable to get my usual help; sister, sister-in-law, friends.... my husband Steve decided to go with me. With a bad back, I knew it was gonna be tough because he couldn't lift, load, sit for long, etc, and had never been my "sales guy".
The weekend before this "unknown" show, I had another local show that was a blow-out (YAY for sales!! BOO for diminished inventory!!) I worked like crazy all week building my inventory back up, as I was not going to be able to include my pieces with pearls, gemstones, rocks, lava or even with Mary Ann Carroll beads!! I was going to have to leave quite a bit of inventory at home. Something I'd NEVER done.
Steve and I hired our trusty dog sitter for the weekend, and off we went Friday afternoon to set up. When we arrived, I was in the incredibly perfect spot at the corner of the two streets blocked off for the show- Front and Main. This is my view from my booth, when we pulled right up next to my spot to set up. No dragging, hauling, carting in the set up.
(Rising Sun Pavilion, Front Street, on the Ohio River)
BOY was I excited. Not only did I get this view, being on the corner meant I could have my booth open on 2 sides. Very nice!
(the lovely fountain in the pic above, behind the pavilion. It sounded WONDERFUL!)
(my booth with a shot down Main Street, away from the river)
After set up, we checked into our hotel. It was 3 doors down, behind my booth on Front Street! (YAY for easy access and close bathrooms!!!!) We were able to park our truck in their back lot on the alley, and leave it there for the weekend (YAY for no issues with driving to and from and parking!!!)
(see the open window on the 2nd floor behind me? I kept hearing a dog barking... horns... trucks backing up..... frogs...... people sneezing... Every time I turned around, no one was there on the sidewalk, or on the porch or balcony behind me. FINALLY, I looked closely, and there was a very large gray parrot up in that 2nd floor window!!! WE had so much fun listening to that guy. He was QUITE entertaining)
The show was not huge. 50+ booths. But the weather, the view and the crowds were spectacular!! Not to mention the incredibly helpful, friendly organizers.
Across from me in the pavilion a local winery was set up, and to the right of it was a tent with different musicians singing throughout the show.
I could NOT have handpicked a better view, weather or booth location. Sales were good. Our room was quaint and charming. The music was wonderful. AND, Saturday night, the tourism bureau, provided the artists with a dinner and awards ceremony.
I have never won an award at a show. Years ago, it bothered me, but over the years I've found that good sales, and happy customers are far more important than the ribbons. So we closed up the booth Saturday night, and walked up Main Street to the dinner, tired and hungry. There was one man, an artist, who had been the judge for the entire show. I never saw him in my booth. I once saw him pass by, and asked Steve if he'd seen him in the booth. Nope, he hadn't seen him either. Oh, well. Our weekend was fantastic. I had a lovely bottle of wine chilling in the room, and dinner was free :o). They started announcing awards starting with Honorable Mentions. The only 2 categories were 2D and 3D art. When they got to 3rd place 3D, they called my name. Steve had to elbow me to get up, I was so stunned! WHAT A THRILL!!!!!! AND it came with a cash prize!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I all but skipped back to our room that night.
What started as an anxious new adventure, turned out to be an absolutely heavenly experience. Steve and I could not have felt more blessed that weekend. I am grateful he was there to share it with me.
.........the only downside??? Steve has advised me that should he be "required" to "assist" me in the future, he will expect the same incredible view, close accommodations and parking, easy set up and tear down, free dinner, picture perfect weather, lovely music and enough prize money to cover the weekend costs!!