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Like Carnies, Only Craftier.

This weekend, I did something I haven’t done in more than fifteen years.

I had a booth at a craft fair: two actually: one Friday and one Saturday. Last month I wrote about how I did a Holiday Open House, which was actually at someone’s home. The craft fairs this weekend were at two schools, and I was one of about thirty vendors at the first one, and one of about sixty vendors at the second one.

I had forgotten how fun it was to make a bunch of crafts (travel journals that I sold along with my travel book) and then sell them. (Jim is probably groaning as he’s reading this.)

Here are some of my craft fair observations:

1. The people-watching is spectacular. I could go on for days about it, so I won’t even start. Just trust.
2. People will buy ANYTHING. The booth next to mine on Saturday was full of all kinds of overpriced (in my–and my sister’s–opinion) ickyness, and yet they had a steady stream of paying customers all day long.
3. On another note, there are some very, very talented people out there. I saw some handmade cutting boards, some holiday-themed wood decorations, and some wool mittens that were fantastic. The craftsmanship was amazing.
4. A gaggle of teenaged girls who notice and like the stuff you’re selling? Total win. (I sold about ten journals to six girls.)
5. Overall, people are very friendly. I loved talking to the people who stopped by and, even if they weren’t buying anything, were genuinely interested in my story.
6. Having middle- and high-schoolers playing holiday music while folks are shopping puts everybody in a good mood, including the vendors.
7. Having your sister (or, more specifically, MY sister) there to do your merchandising and promoting is really the only way to go. She could sell ice cubes to Eskimos.
8. You never know who you’ll see. Although I knew I’d cross paths on Saturday with familiar faces because the craft fair was held at my sons’ old middle school, I didn’t expect to run into someone I worked with at the health club sixteen years ago. She was a vendor just a couple of tables away, and it was great to catch up!
9. Professional craft fair folks are like carnies, only craftier. Morning finds everyone bleary-eyed, sucking down coffee while they methodically set up their wares, and then at the end of the day they, just as wearily, methodically pack things up, chatting with their neighbors as they get ready for the next stop.

I have already put Jim on notice that we are going to make something totally different for next year’s craft fair. My wheels are turning and burning, and you know what that means…

Insanity and obsession, both of which are great blogging fodder.

Stay tuned!

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  • Michelle December 5, 2011, 3:00 pm

    I want some of the people watching stories. Especially from Mister Man’s school πŸ˜‰

    That said, I was so jealous of the vendors. I really wanted to be one of them selling something. I sort of want to be a crafter. That’s wrong, isn’t it? So when’s your next craft fair? πŸ™‚

    • Melisa December 7, 2011, 8:42 am

      Next year!! I’ll let you know, for sure. πŸ™‚

  • megryansmom December 5, 2011, 6:04 pm

    Makes me want to do it again too. Maybe we can have tables next to each other next year!

    • Melisa December 7, 2011, 8:48 am

      That would be awesome. How about a Chicago blogger craft fair? πŸ™‚

  • Tara R. December 6, 2011, 8:51 am

    I’ve never participated in a crafts fair, but have attended many and you’re right… the people watching is as much fun as the browsing.

    • Melisa December 7, 2011, 8:48 am

      It’s like a whole counter-culture, for sure.

  • Heather December 6, 2011, 10:34 am

    I used to help a friend at craft fairs throughout the holiday season (she sold baby clothes that she crocheted) and it was HILARIOUS the amount of people watching that one could do. I love that! Glad that they were fun for you!

    • Melisa December 7, 2011, 8:57 am

      You have no idea.

  • Grandma W December 6, 2011, 2:26 pm

    Sounds great maybe I can get in on it we used to have so much fun.

    • Melisa December 7, 2011, 9:01 am

      Yeah! We could have an amazing booth!

  • Patty at A Day in My NYC December 7, 2011, 9:22 am

    Sounds like a great day…glad you enjoyed! I must check out the local craft fair soon. Usually they have a space at the mall out on Long Island and you find really amazing things.