…because there is no bad or ugly!
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.
Looking forward to next year in Lansdale.