The Arts & Crafts show runs on the final two days of Applefest (Saturday & Sunday). This year, there were nearly 300 "vendors," and 40 or 50 food booths! This is an enormous event that stages for five full blocks on Main Street, rounds the corner on Fifth Street and completely surrounds the Park!
The Chamber does allow non-handmade items and businesses to participate in the event. My guess is that 75% of all of the booths were handmade arts and crafts. Interestingly, they stage the non-arts/crafts booths interspersed among the artists/craftsmen, rather than creating a section for them. But the layout works really well.
Set-up is Friday afternoon, giving everyone ample time and opportunity to get somewhere near their space. The Cedaredge Police Department maintains a high visibility throughout the event, and as far as I know, there are no problems with security.
The only real figures I could find state that Applefest draws between 20,000-25,000 people annually. I took this picture Saturday morning about 10:30 AM; I think there were 20,000 people on Main Street when I took this! We've done and been to a LOT of arts & crafts shows and we have never, EVER, seen crowds like this! We had already made our booth fee ($150) by the time I took this photo. One of my customers claimed she was visiting her friend in Grand Junction from Louisiana just so she could come to Applefest! So not only is this event well-attended, it draws people who are there to shop! We set a new personal record at Applefest this year, selling a total of 63 items! This was by far the most transactions we have ever done at any show in any location by almost double!
This year, the weather was our enemy. Saturday was intermittently rainy, but it honestly did not seem to impact attendance in the least. Last year, our best day was Sunday. But this year, it rained steadily all Saturday night, and well into Sunday morning, finally letting up around noon. It's been so incredibly dry, that I am not complaining about the rain - we will take all we can get! And even though the crowd was significantly smaller on Sunday, we still had a decent day.
The Chamber does an incredible job of taking care of their artists/vendors with the exception of parking, which is an issue in a small town that simply wasn't ever intended to host an event the size of this one. They allow ample set-up time, provide great security, and promote this event far and wide to boost attendance. They even host a reception for all of us in the Beer/Wine Garden on Friday evening. They also work hard to provide staging to accommodate special requests such as location on Main Street, directional facing and power.
I didn't review Applefest! last year. We were simply blown away by the show overall which turned out to be our best show ever as far as dollars go. We thought it might be a flook. But having done it again this year, I can confidently say that this is our very favorite show. It's well-run, well-attended and simply a joy to be part of. Even though we didn't do as well monetarily this year as last, this year's Applefest! will still be our best show of this year.
Here is our rating, on a scale of 1 (atrocious) to 10 (spectacular) for Applefest!
Load in/Load Out 10
Availability of show organizers during show 10
Overall layout and traffic pattern 10
Mix of show 10
Show matched pre-show materials 10
Parking for exhibitors 2 (it was a scavenger hunt to find a place to park)
Overall Rating 10
Weather Expectations: This show is the first weekend of October annually, in a town that is at an elevation of 6200 feet in the Rocky Mountains. Expect cool, fall weather.
Who should do this show? Absolutely everyone we talked to said they had a record-breaking, fabulous day on Saturday and did "okay" on Sunday. This includes potters, sculptors, painters, sign makers, tie-dye artists, jewelers, and the list goes on and on. I can't think of anyone that should NOT do this show!
Would we recommend this show to other exhibitors? Yes!
Will we do this show again? Honest, if I could sign up for next year today, I would! We will absolutely do this show next year.