I went today and saw some major improvements. No buy-sell for one! I talked with quite a few of the artists and got good comments from all but one, and that comment wasn't negative, just flat. The last time I wandered and talked with artists a few years ago none of the comments were good. Today everyone I talked with said they felt the show organizers were working hard to make the show better and to return it to its former glory. Per the artists, the organizers are once again looking at quality over quantity which will ultimately enhance its reputation.
I think it's going to take a few years and some continued hard work to possibly get the "old" artists and the crowds to come back. Some of the artists may never come back as they've found new shows for the time slot. Unfortunately those who have moved on to other shows also talk about their experience. Bad reps are hard to overcome. Powers seems to be taking the right steps.
Given the tough economic times I was pleasantly surprised to hear that many of the artists were happy with what they were making as compared to some of their other shows. Some said they did better this year than last year. They all lamented the slowing of sales overall. Everyone I talked with said they'd be back.
I talked to some who were on their second year, some on their fourth or fifth, one who'd been there for at least ten and some I forgot to ask! I read in the flyer that two of the artists had been there from the very beginning in 1971 --- that's 40 years of doing the festival!
I had thought it might be a show where the smaller under $50 items sold the best, but a couple of the artists said they were selling their more expensive items over the lower priced art. Then again, some were selling their $20 - $40 stuff like gangbusters.
There's also a LOT of musical talent to entertain those who really don't care about wandering around... The food selections are great, too --- much better than you usually find at festivals. The vast majority, if not all, of the food vendors seem to be churches, civic groups and other similar organizations.
The crowds weren't as large as I remember from past visits. There were still a lot of people, but I can remember past festivals where the large grassy parking area was full. I was trying to remember if we'd ever gone on the last day. I don't think so. I heard it was busier on Saturday. A couple of the artists said they were selling better today than on the more crowded day as people were able to spend more time looking and talking with the artist. I know on some of the shows I do that I sell better on the smaller crowd days as those who are coming out are focused on buying, on the art, rather than food or entertainment.
They have some superb non-profit backers: Newnan-Coweta Jaycees, Pilot Club of Newnan, 4-H Clubs of Coweta, Newnan-Coweta Art Association and the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce. The Boy Scouts always have a spot and lend a helping hand as needed. It's truly a community event!
Be sure to check out their new website. You can scan down the list of artists to see if you recognize anyone and to see the type work for sale. Of course, the show is over now, but there's always next year!
I'm going to make it a point to support the show. I want them to succeed. This was their 40th anniversary year -- I'd like to know they'll be around to celebrate their 80th.
Next week I'm heading to the Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain. I'll let you know what I think about it, also --- especially since I'll be putting my application in to be part of it next year
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