Where Are All the Crafts?!
By Melissa Minners
I used to love going to the Country Folk Art Craft Show. I loved checking out all of the handmade goods ranging from small, decorative crafts to handmade furniture. I enjoyed perusing stalls containing decorative items made from old doors, windows, jars, books, etc. Homemade food vendors were there, too, offering everything from soup to nuts, literally.
The craft shows I used to go to were incredibly crowded and there were times when I was hard pressed to find a parking space so I could get into the show. I would look forward to these shows, especially around the holidays when quality gifts could be purchased for fair prices.
Of late, the Country Folk Art Craft Shows have changed. They are no longer the celebrated affairs they used to be. Favorite vendors could no longer be found. More and more vendors selling things that had nothing to do with homemade of handcrafted items began appearing. The events became smaller and smaller, with fewer vending tables and less dates.
I don't know about you, but when I go to a craft show, I want to see handcrafted and homemade items. I have no desire to see vendors hawking newspaper subscriptions, vacations, kitchen cabinet remodeling, hot tubs, etc., but that's exactly what the craft show has become.
Vendors who no longer show up to the shows have cited various reasons, but the most voiced one is that the price of having a table at the craft show was becoming too steep. I can understand this issue. If your costs become too high, you have to sell your wares at higher prices. Customers who would normally purchase from you may no longer be able to afford your merchandise. If you sell less merchandise, you can no longer cover your costs or make a profit.
The long and short of it is that customers aren't happy. I was at Harold's the other day, a place where craft show attendees often come to eat before or after the show. I overheard craft show patrons at a nearby table complaining about the size of the craft show and the lack of handcrafted items. They went on to say that this day's craft show (January 28, 2012) was absolutely terrible and a waste of money.
Not being one to take other people's word for it, I decided to go to the craft show anyway and was extremely disappointed. There were fewer vendors than ever before and at least half of the vendors were peddling items that would not be considered homemade or handcrafted. If I want to buy an ice scraper, I will go to a local store. If I want a newspaper subscription, I'll call the paper and set one up. If I want homemade or handcrafted goods, I used to come to the Country Folk Art Craft Show, but now I'm not so sure. Until the show returns to what it once was, I may have to reconsider spending $8.00 to get into the show, such as it is.