Rockford Etsy Team
Local Craft Shows
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Here's a great opportunity to show your creative creations at a local show!
The Rockford Handmade Market is a great show and I have done it for the past two years. It is a juried, all handmade show. Applications are only being accepted through October 19th, which is THIS FRIDAY! Below is the link for the application...
Posted at 11:06 am Oct 16, 2012 EDT
That is a great question Bethany! I'm very glad you asked. I've been talking with a lot of other local vendors about certain shows so I think it is a good idea to have a general list for people to go to for the Rockford area and surrounding areas.
Here are some good things to consider when picking shows for your business before I pull out my big list (it will take me a while to write up):
**Please make sure each show is right for you. Know your target market so that when you do a show, you know those specific types of people are at that show. (know the age, style, household income, education, gender, lifestyle, etc. of your target market - that might have to be a future workshop!)
**Some of the shows listed are for higher end quality handmade items, for more crafty items, for fine art only, or for vintage/antique items. As an artist/artisan/vintage dealer, you should want the shows that you are in to be quality and work well with your items. Make sure you are in the right place! (Example: You may not want to apply for PEC Thing at the WInnebago County Fairgrounds if the majority of the vendors are antique dealers and you're selling handmade custom sterling silver jewelry. You may not do very well at this show because the patrons are going to the show for the deals and the old stuff to either make their own jewelry or decorate their home. You would probably do better at the Rockford Handmade Market or Renegade Craft Fair Chicago)
**A rule of thumb that myself and a lot of other handmade vendors live by, is to not participate in shows that have a majority of consultant vendors (Avon, Meechi Bags, Thirty-One, Mary Kay, Gold Canyon Candles, etc.) because that typically does not draw in the particular market of people that you want as a handmade artist - these people are typically big-box store shoppers and don't appreciate the work put into handmade items. But, sometimes I still find myself at a show with a few consultants here and there - sometimes they don't too well when there are more handmade artists, but sometimes they still do pretty well - it just depends on the show.
**Read entire applications so you don't forget anything and so you know everything that is expected of you and the show coordinator. Submit your applications with show fees as early as you can - this looks good to the coordinator.
**When you do a show - PLEASE show up with plenty of extra time to unload your car, set up your table, and be ready to sell before the starting time. There are always early customers, so the earlier you are ready the more money you make!
**If you have participated in local shows, please feel free to list them in the comments below. This is where our communication as a team is crucial to help improve the quality of the shows and success of businesses. If you do a show, come back to the team page and write your own discussion thread and give your review (you can set the thread to be public to all of Etsy or just to our team)
Ponder on these things while I write up my list....
Posted at 9:55 pm Feb 8, 2012 EST
The biggest and most successful show I've done is Autumn on Parade. I nearly sold out of all of my inventory.
I also did a tiny show in Forreston last year and will participate again next month. Last year I didn't sell much, but the entry fee is very low.
Posted at 10:31 pm Feb 8, 2012 EST
2012 shows and dates - I can't guarantee the dates are correct as I may have the dates from 2011 but if it is a yearly show then they're about the same year after year or at least the same weekend... take a deep breath!
Saturday and Sunday, April 13th-14th: Spring Art Scene - Second Friday and Saturday in April. You can join the Rockford Art Guild for this event or join any other group at ANY of the MANY locations downtown. Also is in the fall. www.artsforeveryone.com/SpringArtScene.cfm
Sunday, April 22nd: Spring Unique Boutique at Hoffman House off of East State Street and Bell School Road. Contact Michelle Gioppo at firstname.lastname@example.org. NEW SHOW! She did one last fall in November and I thought it was great for a first time show. It is juried. Mostly handmade. I think I saw only 2 or 3 consultants at this one.
Friday-Sunday, May 18th-20th: Spring PEC Thing at Winnebago County Fairgrounds, Pecatonica, IL. The vintage/antique show = tough to get an inside spot with cement floor (DON'T do the dirt floor building!)
Rockford Handmade Market - May (maybe June in 2012?). At the wonderful Prairie Street Brewhouse downtown on the beautiful Rock River. 1st show in May 2011 wasn’t nearly as great as the December one. I’ve heard that they might do the spring one in June next year. rockfordhandmade.com/
Rockford City Market June - October - Fridays all summer 3-7pm. You can opt to do a half-season, too. Last summer (2011) it was $300 for 20 weeks, $175 for 10 weeks, plus $100 insurance unless you have your own already, plus $100 attendance deposit that you’ll get back if you attend 80% of Fridays. The setup for this may also change to not be as long of a season. I've heard it will be tougher to get into RCM as years go by. rockfordcitymarket.com/
Sunday, June 10th: Art on the Lawn – 2nd week in June. Fine Art Only. Put on by the Rockford Art Guild held at Rockford College.
Wind Ridge Herb Farm – Last Saturday in June: First show was in 2011. I sold more there than at City Market the day before. It was good with a ton of vendors of all genres. It is geared as a “Wellness and Garden Faire” but there were artists, candles, soaps, live music, etc. Lots of vendors from City Market at this one. Owners had a mini party in the backyard of the property after the show for the vendors. See a list of vendors and activities on their website: www.windridgeherbfarm.com/whatshappening.html
Saturday and Sunday, September 8th-9th: Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago, IL $400 outside 10' x 10' spot - can opt to split a tent with someone. www.renegadecraft.com
Friday-Sunday, September 14th-16th: Fall PEC Thing at Winnebago County Fairgrounds, Pecatonica, IL - same as the one in April above.
Greenwich Village Art Fair at Rockford Art Museum (outside in parking lot) September 15th-16th. Juried Show, Fine Art Only. Attendees must pay to get in. $30 Application fee. $200 booth fee, which is pretty expensive. There is also the Bazaar section that holds lesser fine art items, which I believe the booth is only $65. www.rockfordartmuseum.org/gvaf.html
Art in the Park –Always same dates as Greenwich show above, Fine Art Only
Same dates as Greenwich and just down the street, outside, in Beattie Park downtown. Put on by the Rockford Art Guild, which you should join with Ron Clevenger and me! This show is $10 application fee and a $120 booth fee (way less than Greenwich!), but is $90 for Art Guild Members. Last I heard they were still looking for artists. www.rockfordartistsfair.org
Cider N' Cinnamon @ Edgebrook Shopping Center – First Sat & Sun in October
edgebrookshops.com/sales_events.html Great show! This was my first show ever and it was wonderful - its been going on for about 17 years. They've also started a new one in June, which I've heard is not as good but who knows!
Friday and Saturday, October 5th-6th: Fall Art Scene same as Spring Art Scene above.
Autumn on Parade in Oregon, IL: In 2011, the dates for this show were the same as Cider N’ Cinnamon in October but I believe it is a 3 day show. $175 for a 10 x 10 foot space I believe. If you would like more information about this from a vendor’s point of view, email Judy from Candle Crest at email@example.com. It’s the BIG show that the town really puts all of their money and efforts into – they don’t even do a 4th of July celebration. I have not tried this one but I want to.
Saturdays, November 10th and 17th: Katie's Cup Holiday Artisan's Market,
Rockford, IL. A smaller show but I like it =] Contact Barbara Berney when it is a bit closer to the date: firstname.lastname@example.org (she's also the President of the Rockford Art Guild and a member of this team! www.etsy.com/shop/barbaraberney)
Sunday, November 18th: Peppermint Swirl at Hononegah High School, Rockton, IL. The contact person is Ken Bach 815-624-6325. There is no website or Facebook page for this event - you must call. Spots fill up by August or sooner! Get on the mailing list! The booth spaces are $75 for a 12x12 open on 2 sides if in center of field house dome or against the outer perimeter wall. The attendance is around 2800 for the 1 day show.
Rockford Handmade Market – First Thursday night of December – 4-10pm. They are usually on a Thursday night. My mother and I did this one together for their debut show in December 2010 and it was AMAZING! This is the same show that is in May above. rockfordhandmade.com/
...whew! Good luck!
Posted at 10:57 pm Feb 8, 2012 EST
Thanks for the list. I've done the cidar cinnamom show at edgebrook center in the past, the past 2-3 years haven't done it, but still visit. They always get good traffic. A lot of the local shows don't accept my works, my style don't fit in. I usually sell my products from maustudio.etsy.com not my maupromos, they are a bit too cutesy maybe?
Posted at 11:21 pm Feb 8, 2012 EST
Wonderful information! Thank you!
I would absolutely recommend Autumn on Parade! My family has attended for years so I was really excited to participate. It's a Saturday and Sunday show. You are allowed to set up on Friday night and actually most people leave their products in their booths all weekend long! Everything is very organized and I had no problems with anything there! The only worry is the weather. Last year was beautiful, but I've gone prior years when it's pouring rain. And since booths are set up on the road, you could very easily have standing water in your booth. With my paper products.. rain is terrifying! But overall, it's worth the risk! It's a wonderful local event with many talented vendors.
Posted at 12:18 am Feb 9, 2012 EST
There is also Fair and Fall Diddley for those who want to try large shows. You get a lot of traffic but I would recommend more craft type items and holiday inspired in the fall one.
Fair Diddley is 1 day May 20th in Woodstock
Fall Diddley is 2 day October 13th and 14th in Belvidere.
Be quick though - you have to apply by Feb 15th for both. check out mhrl.org/default.aspx
Posted at 4:23 pm Feb 9, 2012 EST
Glad to join everyone! There's a lot of good information here, thanks so much Kari for putting this list together! I will gladly post any shows I hear about. I am new to the craft show circuit but am enjoying making jewelry and meeting new people!
Posted at 2:49 pm Mar 18, 2012 EDT
Thank you so very much for the list! I've been looking for something like this!
I'll be looking into some of them, although last year we couldn't afford the City Market, we *might* give it a try this year. I've never heard of Rockford Handmade, and will definitely look into that one once the 2012 date is set. Also looking into the Wind Ridge Herb Farm. My husband has done the Edgebrook: Think. Feel. Design (much like the Cinnamon and Cider).
Again, thanks for the list!
Posted at 5:27 pm Mar 29, 2012 EDT