Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Duck Creek Days! Fun For Everyone!

Duck Creek Days are held each year during the last weekend in July, in Duck Creek Village, Utah.  This is a lovely little community in the Southern Utah Mountains that sits at an elevation of 8,400 feet.  It's a terrific place to go to escape the heat at lower elevations.

View of the meadow just behind the main area of Duck Creek Village, UT

This event includes a Chili Cookoff (probably the biggest deal), a rubber duck race, live DJ during the day, live music in the evenings, and a two-day arts & crafts event.  This is truly a "something for everyone" affair.

We'd heard mixed reviews from other artists.  Since it fit in our schedule and the booth fee wasn't exorbitant, we thought we would give it a try.  If nothing else, we would get to sit in the beautiful mountains for three days. 

The Village of Duck Creek is a single road along the edge of an enormous meadow.  The meadow is home to all of the activities during the event.  As the meadow is private property, there were several restrictions on the application; no camping, no pets, proof of business liability required at check-in (or sign a waiver protecting the property owners and Duck Creek), no alcohol, no driving through the meadow during open hours (advertised 10 AM - 8 PM both days), booths must stay open during advertised open hours.  We can live with all of these things.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon to check in and were escorted to our spot by a friendly lady on a four-wheeler - yes, this event is that big.  She reminded us that we couldn't camp on/in the meadow (as we had our Lance behind the truck), and encouraged us to find her if we had any other questions.

Our spot was back in the trees to the left of the entry road.
Set up was quick and easy.  We left the meadow and found a lovely place to spend three days in a nearby Forest Service Campground.  Life is good.

Friday morning, we stopped at check-in as instructed on Thursday to get a vendor parking permit and the wifi password.  We figured that was when our evidence of insurance was going to be requested (as stated in the pre-show materials).  No one ever asked for it.

We drove around the perimeter of the event, and were puzzled by the significant number of campers, travel trailers, motor homes and tents set up along the route (no camping???).  We just love being able to park our truck right behind our booth at shows, which was what we got to do at this one.

After making sure all our items were perfectly displayed, cash drawer was loaded, etc.  We opened for business right at 10 AM.  There were hundreds, if not thousands of people strolling through the booths all day long. Interesting to us was that perhaps every third person had at least one dog on a leash (no pets????).

As the morning turned into afternoon and afternoon became evening, we noticed that the pet-walking patrons had shifted from soft drinks to openly displayed cans and bottles of beer (no alcohol???).  Really confusing was that operators of inflatable kids rides were towing in their equipment as late as 3 PM on Friday (no driving through the event during open hours?????).  Although none of these things had a direct impact on us, we both find it incredibly annoying that the rules only apply to some people.  Come on folks...  if you're going to make the rules, then stick to them!

The actual Duck Creek, not far from our campsite
The foot traffic Friday was just amazing all day until about 5:30 when it just simply stopped.  It was quite fascinating how deserted the entire event was.  Not having seen anyone but other artists/vendors for almost two hours, and noticing that only about half of the other booths were already closed or in the process of closing, we shut down at 7:30, breaking the rules that didn't mean anything anyway.

Saturday was just as crowded with people as Friday; the big difference was that Saturday they were spending money!  We were busy all day until, again, at about 5:30 the crowds seemed to disappear.  It wasn't quite as empty as Friday, and the few people left proved to be buyers.  We started tear down precisely at 8 PM and were completely loaded in the truck by 8:40 - a new record!  All in all, sales at this show were good enough to put it on our schedule again next year.  But regardless of what the pre-show materials say, our tiny dog and show companion, Maggie, will be with us!

Here is our rating, on a scale of 1 (atrocious) to 10 (spectacular) for Duck Creek Days:


Load In/Load Out  10
Availability of show organizers during show 10
Overall layout and traffic pattern 10
Mix of show 10 (everything from actual arts/crafts to made-in-China schlock to hot tubs to window insulation kits and restain-your-cabin products!)
Show matched pre-show materials 1
Parking for exhibitors 10
Overall rating  7

Weather Expectations: Temperatures at this elevation this time of year tend to be high 70s/low 80s during the day and can drop into the 40s at night.  Bring a jacket!  Afternoon thunderstorms are common, too.

Who should do this show? This show is appropriate for any artists, crafters or resale vendors.  It is not juried.  The booth fee of $75 is reasonable.

Would we recommend this show to other exhibitors? Sometimes

Will we do this show again?  Probably

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