Art & Craft Fair Fails

If you’ve been in “show business” long enough, you’ve had some oh-so-dreadful experiences that you may want to forget. They happen. Sometimes, though, they even make good stories.


City Craft Fair


Have you ever ….

Done so many shows in a row that you weren’t sure which state you were currently in?

Arrived at a show on the wrong weekend?

Stood in the pouring rain wondering what you were doing, and if you’d lost your mind?

Packed up your booth in five minutes flat during a weather disaster?

Had your booth completely blown away? Did you find it later?

Clip someone else’s booth during setup with your car?

Arrived at a show and a staff member approached you, saying “Well, we’ve got some bad news …”

Met your craziest customer ever, who wouldn’t leave your booth?

Realized when you got to a faraway show that you packed your vehicle but forgot to include your suitcase/lights/inventory/tent poles/show change? (Or, fill in the blank)

Arrived at a show to find your booth assignment was in the worst possible space?

Had a show so bad that you sold nothing at all? And placed bets with other exhibitors whether anyone would make a sale that day?

Ended up with the exhibitor “neighbor” from hell?

Had some of these awful experiences and been able to laugh about them later?

What’s your best story?


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  1. Listening to your neighbor’s same spiel over and over all day long and realizing how canned and ingenuine it is!

  2. Horse shows frequently have lines of tents with vendors selling everything from paintings to clothes to jewelry. At one such show my fellow artists and I were standing around watching the competitions taking place in several rings at once. Horses and their riders were walking in front of our tents on the way to one ring or another. One horse stopped in front of my booth, lifted his tail and deposited a load of manure. All I could do was turn to my friends and say “Everybody’s an art critic.”

  3. I was speaking with some potential clients in my booth when a fellow artist came over to interrupt to suggest that they come over to HIS booth instead!!!!! I was flabbergasted! (If I’d had my wits about me I think I would have become violent!)

    • Wow – that other artist mostly likely deserved an award “Biggest Jerk!” Sorry that happened – Did he end up making a sale?

  4. for Sarah:
    How do you change the pitch or( spiel) , that you have given to every one that comes to your booth . We all try to talk about our art and how we do it to all that stop by, we all have something to say so just say it or do something to get the customer to you booth

    • John, It’s true that we end up saying similar things about our work to many customers who stop by. However, you can have different “talking points” that you bring up at different times. There is a lot of information to share about your work and your technique. You should be able to speak about your work from many angles. Think of a number of different introductory sentences you could use.

  5. Several years ago at an outdoor event, the local hospital decided to demonstrate its new helicopter. So it started up and dust flew all over the arts and craft vendors. A lot of dust. There was much screaming and crying, including from me.

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