Yesterday we spent the day at the Community Arts Center’s Fine Arts and Crafts Festival in Swarthmore, PA. It was the last outdoor show of my season for 2016, and the last time I will be showing paintings, unless I schedule something else later on this fall.
The show was held along Park Avenue in downtown Swarthmore. Swarthmore is a small borough located south of Philadelphia, about 45 minutes from my house. The town is centered on the commuter rail station and has a downtown full of shops and restaurants. Surrounding it is a neighborhood of large old homes on tree-lined streets. Swarthmore College is right on the other side of the train station and downtown from where we were located for the fair.
We arrived about 7:30 AM on a gray and cloudy morning and went to our spot. The show takes place in front of the Borough Hall/Library building, and we were in the middle of the lineup, right in front of the building. With the aid of some young volunteers, we unloaded the car. The kids went off to help others, and we put the display together.
As is usual, the street slowly filled up with vendors.
There were plenty of attractions associated with the event. A farmers’ market took place around the corner (it’s a regular weekly event.) The fair also had a raffle going and offered a children’s art tent.
There is a small amphitheater on the front lawn of Borough Hall, and it was the scene of musical performances all day. The first group included the mayor of Swarthmore, who played the ukulele.
The day brought plenty of shoppers and the weather cleared in the afternoon.
Once again I meant to take pictures of packing up, but – I forgot. Again. We are always thinking about getting things out of the way and getting ourselves on the road at the end of a show. Maybe next time…? Anyway, it was a nice day and a good way to end the outdoor season with this show.
All right, everyone, here’s my next stop. It’s my last outdoor show this year, and also my last one for displaying paintings.
This event is run by the Community Arts Center of Wallingford, PA, and it takes place on Park Avenue in Swarthmore, PA. The location is great – near the train station, Swarthmore College, and right in front of the borough hall/library.
I have a connection to the CAC – I taught classes there for some time. I also have an art connection to Swarthmore – I had a solo exhibit sponsored by the Friends of the Arts in Swarthmore about four years ago, held in the borough hall.
So I’m looking forward to this event! Here’s a link if you want more info.
Yesterday we spent the day in Sellersville, PA, for this festival.
Sellersville is located about 25 miles from home. It has a small downtown but is primarily residential and is surrounded by farms and some manufacturing. Suburban sprawl is approaching the area, but its location is distant enough from Philadelphia or Allentown/Bethlehem that it hasn’t been swallowed up.
The show is held along the main street going through town. Since it is narrow, there is an elaborate procedure for getting us artists in, unloading and setting up, and moving our cars out. This involves waiting in line at the fire station, going in in small groups, unloading on to the sidewalk very quickly, and taking the car out. We then set up at our own pace. I will say that this show has the best-organized set of volunteers I’ve ever seen who make this all happen, including the large number of teenagers who help unload. (I have wondered if the group conducts mock drills to practice, they are that good).
We got there pretty early and were located at one end of the show. Here’s the “tent’s up” shot:
And in mid-setup:
I took some shots of the street as it filled up, from early morning to crowded full of shoppers.
This show is a typical street fair. It is designed to promote the area businesses, build community spirit, and provide entertainment. I don’t usually expect to sell a lot at this kind of event, and as it turned out, my sales were only fair, but I enjoy going to this kind of event. If you walked along the street here, for instance, you can see Sellersville history on view: though it’s a small place, it has an interesting past, including being the site of a radium plant and an amusement park (the park is still in place but the rides long gone). There are some handsome buildings:
You could look over some new cars:
Music – these guys were just setting up themselves when I took their picture:
Food trucks – one featuring Egyptian food, it said on the side of the truck, and the other one calling itself the “Flying Deutschman”. I am telling you, show food has evolved – not too long ago, the fare was always hamburgers, hot dogs, or maybe sausages. Things have changed.
A kids’ area featured a place to do some art:
…and, you could meet this alpaca. He and a companion came to the fair from a local farm. My husband took this picture. I only saw them from a distance; by the time I went over to take a look, they had gone home. I love the look on the little girl’s face as she eyes the animals.
So, you can see that in this kind of event, you could keep busy all day! This type of show can be found in our area almost any weekend, spring, summer, and fall.
The show is held along Main Street, Sellersville, PA. Show hours are Noon-5 PM. I can’t tell you where I’ll be located, since booth assignments are made as we arrive, but walk along the street and you’ll find me. Unless – I warn you – it’s a rainy day. I exercise a privilege earned from my record of 20+ years of doing shows, when it rains – I stay home if I think it’s not going to be a pleasant day. I just do.
I mention this because the forecast is iffy (which means a beautiful sun will be beaming down on us all day, if history can be trusted!)
So if you are wondering, email me, but I’m thinking positive and looking forward to the day. Sellersville is a great spot to have a show, and I know from past experience there will be a lot to see and do.
The fair was held in a park in Lansdale, a town about 20 minutes from home. It’s a town with a distinct identity, now surrounded by new retail and housing, but I can remember a time when it was set in the middle of fields all on its own. There is still a very strong local feeling, though, and this long-running festival is put on by the Parks and Recreation Department as part of town pride. It also coincides with the Founders’ Day, held in the center of town a few blocks away, so there is a good crowd attracted to both events.
I have done this show for 20 years and it is a favorite for a lot of reasons – location, pleasant crowd, a feeling of welcome from the show organizers, and the familiar faces of exhibitors and friends I see here each year.
Each show has its own routines. This one starts with the space assignment procedure. Unlike many shows, you get your space according to when you arrive on site; this helps with traffic flow in getting a lot of cars in the park at one time. People arrive early and line up along the street. We used to do this, too, and then we realized a few years ago that it didn’t matter – there is not a bad space in the show. So we arrived about 8 AM (the show started at 10 AM) and we breezed right in – no waiting. Joanne from Parks and Rec met us at the check-in point, as she has done for as long as I remember, and we were directed to space 49. We unloaded the car and took it away.
Then we got to work setting up. There are a lot of stages, and maybe someday I’ll photo them in more detail but – I just forgot this time.
Here’s a look at the location of our booth and its surroundings.
We settled in for the day. My husband got his complimentary cup of coffee but we passed on the doughnuts – both hospitality features from the show organizers. Much appreciated.
I visited with some art friends before the day got busy (a shout-out to Mindy and Carl). Then our friend John G. came by and spent a good bit of the day with us – we have plenty of room for visitors and we bring an extra chair in case anyone stops by. If more than one person comes, well, someone will be sitting on the cooler, maybe.
The day was very hot and sunny.
The park is called Memorial Park and commemorates war veterans. There are a couple of cannons in the park and kids climb on them all day. I remember my son doing so when we used to bring him with us, when he was a small boy. I took a picture of this cannon with a man looking it over – I don’t think he was wanting to climb on it! Instead, he was quiet, just thinking his own thoughts.
This show, in addition to being juried for entry, also features cash prizes. The exhibitor chooses two pieces to be judged and marks them; prizes are then awarded from these selections.
This show has always had a good level of art and craft, tribute to the initial jurying process. It is better for all exhibitors if the quality of participants is uniform and high, I think; anyway, for me, it’s hard to sell paintings if the other booths feature poor-quality work.
The show organizers have also always found good judges for the prize awards – meaning the judge has well-recognized credentials or affiliations, and – this is important – takes the time to really study the works. Each artist gets a knowledgable look-over. This is not always the case, as my experiences over the years have shown me! And we exhibitors appreciate it.
It sounds self-serving to have written this bit, as I won second prize in my category. But I wanted to differentiate this show from others that give awards – I feel I have accomplished something, winning here, and I am grateful. And even if I hadn’t won anything, I felt my work was given a fair look, which means more than you’d think.
Well, by the end of the afternoon we were hot and tired and ready to go home. I sold several pieces, and I had some interesting conversations (including a delightful one with a fellow cat-lover about our respective cats). I always mean to take a few packing-up pictures, but I’m thinking more about going home at this point, and I just don’t get to it.
The festivities were not over when the show was – fireworks were planned on the adjacent ball field that night. We didn’t stay, but they expected a big crowd.
I’ll be at this show next Saturday. Here’s a photo from last year. It’s a great show for a lot of reasons: a variety of good quality art and crafts, great location in a shady park, music and kid events, and an easy to get to location. If you’re in the area, it’s a nice spot to spend some time, and I’d be very glad to see you.
I love this show – it is one of the first events I did when I started doing art fairs – about 20 years ago, now. If you want to read about last year’s experience, look here. My booth is on the right, with the table sporting a pale cover in front of it.
The show takes place 10 AM – 4 PM, in Memorial Park, 300 E. Main Street (Rt. 63), Lansdale, PA. (Link to the official site.)
We spent the last weekend at this long-running festival in Erwinna, PA, held in a park right off the Delaware River. I have done this show for years and years. I see a lot of friends here and it’s a very sociable time – I sit in my booth and receive visitors, chat with art buyers, and listen to the music playing over in the stage area. It’s a really nice event for a lot of reasons.
I think I’ll just walk you through it with pictures. Let’s start on Friday afternoon. We artists have the option of setting up in the afternoon and so we arrived at the park around lunchtime. The event is centered on the big red barn – they hold a separate juried show inside there.
Here’s the view of things from our location. It was a very hot, humid, sunny afternoon.
The all-important tent: our home for the weekend days. Ready to be pulled out and set up.
Here it is all set up. We have put the display racks inside, but I don’t hang the artwork until the show day, and I don’t leave it in the booth overnight, so I re-hang it each day. With the sides all zipped up, everything is secure for the evening.
On Friday night, a big thunderstorm came through the area, but our tent survived fine (They don’t always…). Saturday was cool, rainy, and gray all day.
Here’s some shots of the inside of the tent display.
And our row of tents. We were located along the edge of the field – there are two sections in groves of trees, but I like the less-crowded location that we have, and so I always chose this section each year when I apply.
Here’s a view of “backstage”. I set things up so that we could sit behind the display at this show, because it is shady and we have a lot of room. In many shows, you only have the 10′ x 10′ space your tent occupies, and you have to fit yourself and all your things in it. Here, well, we have a lot of acreage, another reason I like this section. We also always bring an extra chair for visitors to sit in – that’s why we have three instead of just two for us.
After a showery day, we went home. Another storm passed through in the night but once again our tent stood up to it. Sunday was very pleasant, sunny and breezy. The crowd was much larger this day.
We were located near the book sale tent – it’s a fixture at this fair and the proceeds benefit local charities. I went over and took a look at things.
So there you have it. I had nice sales, so I was happy, and I saw a lot of friends – our visitor’s chair was in demand. I want to say hi and thanks for coming to John G. and Steve (and John came both days); Missy; Jay and Catherine; Joanne; and Ann. And, I met a blog friend here, Jeannette (and Mr. Jeannette, whose name was told to me, I know, but…I have lost it, I apologize) – they came from northern New Jersey to see the show and say hello, which I really appreciated. All in all, a really nice weekend!