Looking to attend a new Art Festival? I have summed up all my favorite shows, festivals, and fairs to help both vendors and shoppers find exactly what they are looking for when searching for a new show.
I have been selling my watercolors at various art and craft shows since the early 90s. Shows have evolved significantly since those days. People may question wether they are still worth participating in now that we have the internet, and so many advance capabilities of selling online.
I have one answer to this- Hell Yeah!
Above I'm at Chester Craft Show in New Jersey showing shoppers a video of how I paint.
Art and craft shows are still hands down the BEST place to connect with handmade sellers, and customers who appreciate their talent. Nothing beats old fashion face to face interaction!
Allentown Art Festival in Downtown Buffalo, NY.
It's important to do a little research on the different kind of shows that are out there. If a show is not a good fit for you, then you will not have a good experience, and that always leads to disappointment. I have categorized the shows below according to interest instead of location. I have learned it's best to travel a little further for a show that fits your style of selling and/or shopping needs, versus going to a show just because it's conveniently located close to home.
This information applies to both artisans and for art lovers looking to shop. Surprisingly, I get asked quite a bit about shows by my customers. I know many amazing art fans that will travel across state lines just to check out a new show in search of discovering new inspiring handmade goods!
Syracuse Art and Craft Festival, Downtown Syracuse, NY.
Most of the shows I attended are fine art and craft festivals. These shows have merged over the years (they use to be completely separate shows back in the 90s) and it's now common to find both painters and crafters at the same show. I have also attended some amazing shows that have roots in folk art, decorative arts, and even traditional festivals with amusement park rides that have proven well worth attending. Bottomline, you never know what show will work best for you unless you give it a try! I've been surprised more then once in a good way, which is why I always make it a habit to try at least 4-5 new shows a year. Of course I also attend shows that don't work out too, and that is also helpful! I learn from each show experience who I am, who I'm selling to, and what shows are the best fit for me to apply to in the future.
Check out my show list, and see if there is a show that would be a good fit for you:
High End Fine Art and Craft Shows
These shows are meant to showcase nonfunctional traditional fine art. The artisans here are masters of their trade. High end shows are great for looking for a large original painting, or maybe a unique one of a kind garden sculpture. Participating in one of these show can be expensive and will require you to get juried in. There will also be a fee to attend the shows as a shopper. The promoters do their best to introduce dedicated artisans with serious buyers!
Paradise City has four different shows in two different location in Massachusetts.
Spring and Fall Crafts Lyndhurst, Tarrytown, NY. There are two shows at this breathtaking castle estate, and both are run by Artrider. Artrider also has several other shows located in Morristown, NJ, Rhinebeck, NY, and in New York City.
Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show, Philadelphia, PA. This is strictly a high end craft show.
Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, DC. This show is also just for crafters.
Art and Craft Fairs and Festivals
These shows are very similar to the high end art and craft shows but have more diversity of crafters and very in size. These shows may also showcase a variety of decorative arts, and specialty foods. Most shows will still require artisans to be juried in, but usually at a lesser price, and alot of the shows are free for the public to attend.
Laudholm Nature Craft Festival, Wells, ME. This is a gorgeous fine arts & crafts show! One worth traveling to.
South Portland Art in the Park Show, South Portland, ME. This smallish show was one of my favorites to attend growing up.
Belfast Arts in the Park, Belfast, ME.
Camden Harbor Arts & Crafts Show, Camden ME. There are two smallish shows, one in July and one at the end of September run by the Public Library. They are great to attend if you are visiting the area.
Lincoln Craft Festival, Lincoln, NH. This show is twice a year, once in August and in October. The shows are run by Castleberry Fairs & Festivals which are one of my favorite promoters. They offer a lot of options for shows, and these Lincoln shows are are two of their best!
Mount Sunapee Craftsmen's Fair, Newbury, NH. I hear this is one of the best shows to attend if you are a crafter! This show is strictly for handmade crafts and no arts (which means no paintings). If you are a crafter of fine arts and live in New Hampshire this is a must attend event!
Deerfield Fall Craft Fair, Old Deerfield, MA. Deerfield Craft Fairs has three shows, a Spring show, Fall show, and a Holiday show. I love them all! The Fall show has a wide selection of wonderful handmade crafts, and is also one of the few shows where you can still discover amazing folk art.
Wickford Art Festival, North Kingstown, RI. This is a fantastic large show for artisans and well worth traveling to! It's one of the few show around that showcase mostly arts.
Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, Mystic, CT. This is one of my favorite shows of all time! It's a very large show that's been around for a while, and use to be open to just artist. Times have changed, and they have open it up to nonfunctional crafts! This is a show worth traveling to.
Rosland Cottage Fine Arts and Crafts Festival, Woodstock, CT. This is a medium-sized charming show with lots off wonderful handmade goods! It's in the Fall making it a delight to travel to for sight seeing Fall Foliage and is also a reasonably price show to apply to!
Niantic Art and Craft Show, Niantic, CT. Is another reasonably priced small show to apply for, and worth checking out if you are in the neighborhood.
Old Saybrook Arts & Crafts Festival, Old Saybrook, CT. Is another small yet charming show that's supported strongly by its community.
Westport Fine Arts Festival, Westport, CT.
Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Craft Fair, New Paltz, NY. This show is run by Quail Hollow promoters, and they have two shows a year, one on Memorial Day Weekend, and the other on Labor Day Weekend. They are large shows, and I love them both! They are great for selling and for traveling to discover new makers!
Americu Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival, Syracuse, NY. This is a great show to try out if you are new to the area. The shoppers are delighted to see new art! I find this community is very supportive of the arts.
Letchworth Arts and Crafts Show, Letchworth, NY. This is a very popular show Columbus Day Weekend, and is located in Letchworth State Park which is worth traveling to for its breathtaking views alone!
Remsen Barn Festival, Remsen, NY. I haven't been to this show yet but have heard great things! I want to go someday.
Allentown Art Festival, Buffalo, NY. I travel every year to this show and have never been disappointed! It's a very large show with dedicated shoppers.
Clothesline Festival, Rochester, NY. This show has always been one of the top shows in New York and you had to be a New York Resident to get in (I know because I have tried!) I recently heard they may have done away with that rule. I say check it out!
Armonk Outdoor Art Show, Armonk, NY. A traditional fine art show.
Chester Spring & Fall Craft Shows, Chester, NJ. Now here is a show that doesn't pop up on any big fancy list. I heard about it through another vendor (who travels from Tennessee to be part in this show!) Guess what- it's my FAVORITE show of all time! I recommend this show to just about everybody.
Rose Squared Productions at Verona, NJ. Rose Squared are wonderful promoters that run fine art & fine craft shows full of gifted artisans located at inspiring yet convenient locations. They have four shows located in Verona, Bloomfield, and Montclair.
Sugarloaf Crafts Festival Spring Show in Edison, Edison, NJ. This show is also available in the Fall for holiday shopping. The Sugarloaf shows are alway very large, and worth traveling to for both sellers and shoppers.
Sugarloaf Crafts Festival Spring Show in Oaks, Oaks, PA. Sugarloaf Crafts Festivals are wonderful promoters that run 11 shows throughout the year located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.
Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show, Mount Gretna, PA.
Shadyside Art Festival, Pittsburg, PA. I haven't done this show, but I hear it's a lovely fine arts and crafts show.
Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, State College, PA. This show is known as one of the top shows in the country and is very popular making it difficult to get into when applying.
Long's Park Fine Art Festival, Lancaster, PA. This show is also one of the top shows in the country and can be very hard to get juried in.
Bethesda Row Arts Festival, Bethesda, MD. Another large, popular, and amazing fine art show worth traveling to!
Art in the Park, Richmond, VA. A large show the draws in a very large crowd of shoppers and diverse talent of artisans. My ideal show for traveling 10 hours for!
Occasion for the Arts, Williamsburg, VA.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk Art Show, Virginia Beach, VA. This is another large show considered to be one of the top shows in the country!
Three Rivers Art and Music Festival, Pittsburg, PA
Arts, Crafts, and Music Festivals
These festival are very large and offer more to the public then just handmade goods. Often food, rides, and a stage for music are present, and an arts & crafts section is just one part of the festival. These shows can run long hours into the night. Depending on what you are looking for these shows can be a hit or miss for selling, but always fun to attend.
Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland, ME.
Gloucester Waterfront Art and Craft Fair, Gloucester, MA. This is a great event to bring the whole family! It's one of my favorites run by Castleberry Fairs & Festivals. You can see more about this show here.
Scituate Art, Craft and Antique Festival, North Scituate, RI. There are a lot of wonderful festivals Columbus Day Weekend and this one is my favorite! It's in a charming setting surrounded by wonderful people. There is also a great diversity of arts, crafts, antiques, and a stage for music which you can see more of in this post here.
Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY. This larger then life fair is one of my favorite shows of all time! Stella Shows are the talented promoters for all of Country Living Magazine Fairs. If you like the magazine you will fall in love with their shows! You can also see what this fair is like in another post I made here.
Corn Hill Arts Festival, Rochester, NY. A very large festival full of family activities. Love the neighborhood!
Park Ave Summer Art Festival, Rochester, NY.
Three Rivers Art and Music Festival, Pittsburgh, PA. I love, love, love this show! I wish it was closer to me! This is such a fun event to attend for both for artistians and shoppers. I would travel a great distance for this show (and have!). You can see more about this show in another post here.
Greeley Park Art Show, Nashua, NH
Small One - Two Day Fairs and Festivals
Finding a popular small show can be surprisingly successful to attend. These shows are usually hard to find because they are not well advertised and usually only learned through word of mouth. Small shows are my favorite to discover because the are inexpensive to get in, set up is easier, and I especially like it when they are driving distance from my house! Here are some of my favorites.
Art in the Park, Bridgton, ME.
Summer Solstice Craft Show, Wells, ME. This promoter also has two more shows at this location. One in Fall and a Holiday show.
Strawberry Festival, South Berwick, ME. This event is full of lots of activities for adults and children and of course you can get strawberry short cake!
Castleberry Fairs at Hampton Falls, NH. They have two shows in Hampton Falls one on Mother's Day Weekend and the other in the Fall. They also have a bunch of other shows that all very in size and location and are worth exploring if you are an artist, crafter, or specialty food.
Castleberry Fairs at Meredith, NH. Same promoters as above. This is another small show that I personal love, and it also happens twice a year in the Spring and Fall.
Greeley Park Art Show, Nashua, NH.
Art in the Park, Keen, NH.
Apple Harvest Day, Dover, NH. This is a show open to all sorts of vendors (not just artisans) and has many events happening throughout the day.
Mattoon Street Art Festival, Springfield, MA. This is a small but mighty fine art and craft show. It's run by the neighborhood and they go above and beyond to take care of the artisans! I also made a post about this show.
Crafts in the Park, Andover, MA.
Folk Music & Artisans Show, Templeton, MA
I know there are many more small shows like the ones above out there. If you know one that you think is great please let me know in the comment section below!
Indie and Renegade Art & Craft Shows
These shows are slightly different in an unconventional way due to their style and set up from what I consider a traditional fine art & craft show. These show can also include all things vintage and antiques. If you like Etsy then this show list is for you!
Portland Flea-for-All, Portland, ME. This event is open every weekend throughout the year. In the summer there is also music and food truck to liven up the event!
CraftBoston, Boston, MA. This event happens twice a year.
Craftland, Providence, RI
Renegade Craft has several Fairs throughout the country located in Boston, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Miami, Seattle, and Denver.
Craft-o-rama Outdoor Artisan Market New Bedford, MA
SoWa, Boston, MA. The SoWa open market is and ongoing event in Boston that happens every Sunday from May-October.
Bust Craftacular, Brooklyn, NY. There is also one in Boston, Los Angeles, and London.
Art Star Craft Bazaar, Philadelphia, PA
Want to discover more of these show? Check out this post on BuzzFeed: 35 Indie Craft Fairs Every Creative Person Needs to Visit.
Depending on what you sell or looking to attend these larger then life fairs full of livestock, food, music, and more may be the right fit for you! I have had great success at some of these fairs. Keep in mind fairs usually run VERY long hours. They can wear you out if you don't have help.
Common Ground Fair, Unity, ME. This is my favorite fair in Maine!
Fryeburg Fair, Fryeburg, ME. This is a fantastic New England fair to attend, and its also 8 days long.
Big E Fair, West Springfield, MA. This is a gigantic fair! It's 17 days long.
Old Deerfield Holiday Sampler Craft Fair at the Northern Exposition Fairground, Springfield, MA.
Holiday Craft Shows can be the best shows of the year for handmade goods that are made at a price point that's attractive for shoppers to purchase for gifts. If you are one of these makers, or a shopper looking for a new show, this list is worth trying out:
Christmas in the Country Craft Fair, Standish, ME. This is my favorite small holiday show in Maine.
Boston Christmas Festival, Boston, MA. This is a very large and awesome show!
Old Deerfield Holiday Sampler Craft Fair, West Springfield, MA. This was my favorite holiday show of 2017 and one of my favorites for the entire year! You will discover lots of fine art, crafts, and a wide selection a beautiful handmade holiday decor! This show is worth traveling to, and you can see more about this show in another post I made.
Worcester Center for the Crafts Holiday Festival, Worcester, MA. This show is well run, and has many amazing fine art finds. If you are a maker of fine art or craft then this is a show for you.
Wilmington Holiday Art and Craft Festival, Wilmington, MA. This is Castleberry Fairs & Festivals most popular show of the year.
New England Craft & Specialty Food Fair, Topsfield, MA. This is another show by Castleberry Fairs & Festivals.
Foundry Holiday Show, Pawtucket, RI
Christmas in the Country, Hamburg, NY. This is a very large show, and has a wide selection of holiday crafts.
Morristown CraftMarket, Morristown, NJ. This is a great holiday show for fine artist and crafters and shoppers looking for fine arts.
Bizarre Bazaar the Christmas Collection, Richmond, VA. This is a very large show that goes beyond handmade. They will also have larger chain stores, and wholesalers. I found the customers there really appreciate the handmade goods.
One of a Kind Show and Sale Holiday Show, Chicago, IL.
Here is another venue that can be worth trying out. Flower shows are usually massive, and if you sell anything related to flowers or gardens it could be worth giving it a try. Be warned these shows can also run very long hours, and can be expensive to attend (The price you pay to get in front of lots of shoppers).
Philadelphia Flower Show is the largest flower show on the Eastern seaboard and has a fantastic reputation.
Boston Flower & Garden Show is the next largest flower show in the Eastern seaboard.
Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show, Providence, RI.
Flower & Garden Show, Hartford, CT.
My Wishlist of Shows to Attend
Because I'm located in Maine I can only attend shows that are located less then 12 hours from my house. (I have to be home on Mondays to get my girls to school.) I wish I could get to more shows that I hear great things about through other vendors! Here is my wishlist of shows I wish I could attend if I could travel anywhere:
St James Court Art Show, Louisville, KY
The Ann Arbor Art Fair, Ann Arbor, MI
Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Coconut Grove, FL
One of a Kind Show and Sale, Chicago, IL
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans, LA
How to Find Shows
I'm always looking for new shows every year. It's good to expand to new areas and introduce your art work to new crowds even if it means leaving a show you are comfortable with. Just think how much your customer will miss you, and will be so excited when you return again! If you want to read up on fairs and festivals, here are a few of my favorite sources:
Sunshine Magazine has been around for a very long time and is a good judge of shows that have stood the test of time. I look for these shows when I travel farther away from home.
Art Fair Calendar is more recent the Sunshine Magazine but does a great job of summing up the best shows in the country and even breaks them down by region which is nice.
Fairs and Festivals has just about every kind of fair and festival known to man in every state. This is a great recourse to discover those little hometown shows not often showcase on the above sites.
Zapplication is a site for artist to apply to most of the shows above. Its also an excellent resource for seeking out new shows.
Hey, if you got a good show that you think should be on my list I would love to hear about it! Comment below:)