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Peer Session Groups
Fairs, and Festivals

Topics for Discussion:

►     Michigan Film Festival

►     Discussion of training for artisans

►     Experience to improve Cumberland

►     How to help small world community festivals

►     Other prospects on festivals

►     Folk life festival in September

►     Craft fairs since 60’s looking for new trends

►     Need ideas to start “Taste of Pennsylvania”  

►     Common health of different fairs - wholesale vs. resale.


Artists tend to do more retail but sales there are down.

After 35 years of craft fairs, buyers have changed so artists switched to wholesale.  Retail requires much cash and travel. 

Artist need to offer the public a more personal experience and make them want to come back.

Fairs are growing in Ohio.

   Kentucky Guild’s two shows per year have seen decreasing attendance because it was the same artists every year and nothing was unique.  Artists need to produce new work.

The May and October Guild Fairs are declining vs. the July fair which has been a big variety and better attendance as opposed.

   Some people in crafts businesses are not willing to make a change and tell their story.

Events that cater to kids sell a lot.  There need to be an event at each fair for children.  People come for the experience. 

The State of Penn College Fair sells the same things every year and nothing changes.  There is a lack of originality.

Create atmosphere with music and different activities.  Artists show new products at wholesale so dealer has first option.

Consumers are more educated because they visit galleries and customers need to think they are getting something no one has.

   Juries pick the artists that are more unique and people come back because they can’t find the artist.

The Craft Fair movement is out of control because of the cost of entry/booth fees.  Seventy-five percent of an event’s success depends on the person in the event and buyers are being decisive.   When the jury is not educated enough to tell the difference between good and low quality work, a problem develops.

The fault is with people who aren’t experienced enough.  They jury in more people for the money and they don’t have any funding.  The craft events need to be cleaned up and can be done by the artists they choose.

   There are often too many craft shows in one area in 1 year. 

Fairs should introduce art of new state artists.

Fairs should work to motivate home artist and bring variety back to local fairs.

The complaint with many fairs is that the same artists have the same work year after year.

You need to get new artists and motivate artists to do new work.

Often an artist will stick to best sellers while smart artists make new.

Festivals could have a different theme every year. 

Give artist awards.

Designer showcases work to create a new look at fairs.

People see ads that appear boring and need something specific to get focused.  Fairs must market the event and attract people to come through the gate.

Fairs could feature different artists from different states not from neighboring states.

Find most respected person for that reason.

Market is over saturated.

Smaller festivals dying.

Sarasota, FL has 15 craft shows.

 Creating an event with a craft show as a feature brings a lot of people.

 Art sales are higher with fewer people when you focus on art.

   America’s craft artists need a new language.  Younger crafts people aren’t educated about craft.

Fundraiser for educational reasons.

There is a need to promote artists in order to keep the community informed about their successes.  We should continue to use TV and press to introduce new artists to the public, but the internet has become a major force in this type of communication. 

Organizations can feature artists on their main web page and use several links to guide the public to relevant information concerning the artists and their communities.

Buy billboards on delivery trucks and trucks. 

Multiple discipline Juries encouraged.  Two systems:

Jury Art Services – Smithsonian

NAIA – WESTAF Jurying Services (cost effective)

Digital services are available.

Need to find better places to have fairs to increase attendance.  Use good graphic design,

Fairs are being held during same time period as competition and are competing for space.

Crafts people get more sophisticated and buyers are already seeing work.

People are traveling less.  Buyers are going to 1 national show.

See increase in sales but fewer people.  There are fewer buyers at shows.

Galleries have lowered and artists stick to best sellers and best customers.

Artists are making smaller things for production.

Some artists are deceitful.

Make artists demonstrate.


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