The first time I did a craft show I was terrified, worried about dealing with bad weather and mean customers. Happily I can report that I have never encountered a single mean customer at any show and have had pretty good luck with the weather. (Knock on wood!) Going to craft shows has become really fun for me. Here are the top reasons why I like them.
#8. The food
There's usually something delicious to be found at fairs and shows. Whether it's a chowder made by the ladies of Saint Paul's in Ludlow or amazing chocolates from the vendors at stART on the Street, there is something yummy to keep me energized.
#7. Visiting different towns
I'm not a particularly adventurous person. Give me a weekend with nothing to do and I'll stay at home 95% of the time. Craft fairs get me traveling around the state, seeing towns that I've never visited before. I get to see them at their best, usually from their downtown or another prominent location.
#6. Getting out of the house
Related to number 7, craft fairs get me out of the house for a day. I love my family, but it is nice to step away from the role of mom for a time to interact with other people. Good thing my husband is so great about being home with the kids!
#5. Recharging my creativity
Walking through a craft fair with dozens of artisans, I can't help but be inspired by the creativity on display. A jeweler's insect ring might give me the idea to make a dragonfly puzzle, or a sculptor of recycled metal might inspire me to include some steampunk parts in my next design. I also love to see how different vendors display their wares. I never thought much about that until I started selling at craft shows.
#4. Knitting time
It might sound crazy, but I keep myself entertained during the slow times at fairs by knitting. I can get through the better part of a sock at a rainy, poorly attended show. I'd much rather be selling puzzles, of course, but hand-knit socks are a welcome consolation prize.
#3. Live entertainment
#2. Meeting local craftspeople
Did you know how many amazingly talented artisans there are in Western Massachusetts?! It's insane! I love to slip out of my booth for a few minutes to chat with other woodworkers about the technical details of how they create their products. Being neighbors with anyone selling fragrant soaps is also a favorite. I've made some great acquaintances at various shows and it's like a little reunion when we see one another at different events throughout the year.
#1. Meeting my customers
Barbara Bitgood, Artisan owner of Holyoke Puzzles in Holyoke, Massachusetts.