Long's Park Art & Craft Festival E-mail



DATES: September 2-5, 2011


ATTENDANCE: 15,000 (Long's Park)

BOOTH COST (10x10): $510





For those of you thinking about producing an outdoor art/craft festival, Long’s Park Art & Craft Festival is a good model for which to strive. This show is proof that you don’t need to intersperse a handful of cheap chotchkes and obvious knockoffs, with good quality work to have a successful show.

With all the trappings of an outdoor art festival – including music, artist demonstrations, Bistro and Park Pub – it’s obvious that the real star of Long’s Park is the lineup of artists the producers of this show are able to attract every year.

There is no pandering to the segment of attendees that would rather shop K-Mart than buy high quality handmade work. And there is a jurying process at this show.

Held in a picturesque park just outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania – exhibitor boothslongspark11-2 lineup just off the banks of a nice little lake – this show has a real reputation of attracting buyers from as far north as NYC and as far south as DC.

Artists know a good show when they work one and tend to re-apply as soon as applications come available, so spaces are few and far between. This is actually the only area where I think the producers could improve the show, by opening up more slots for new artists.

In fact I’ve talked with really creative artists at other equally prestigious shows who don’t even bother applying, or stopped applying, here because they don’t feel there are any available slots.

But know matter how hard the producers of any show work to make sure everything is the best it can be, Mother Nature will offer her two cents.

On early afternoon Saturday when I visited this show, the skies opened up a bit and decided to impact the show. Speaking with a few artists of the show, it had been raining all morning. Surely this show was feeling the residual effects of Hurricane Irene, which had passed through the area just a few days earlier.

longspark11-3Although the weather during the majority of the show was clear and warm, the uncertainty of the forecast had an impact on the lower than usual attendance at this year’s festival, which usually boasts a 20,000 gate. Those shoppers from outside the Lancaster/Philadelphia area that would normally attend the show were more than likely the ones that decided to stay back.

This year’s lower attendance also affected the sales expectations many of the exhibitors had for the show. There are such a high number of returning artists who have found consistent success with this show, that hopes were high.


Unfortunately, in the CSN artist survey, slightly more than half of the artists responding felt sales didn’t meet their expectations.

But given the weather uncertainty, the fact that 40% surveyed either met or exceeded their pre-show expectations, the show could be considered a success.


If you are an artist considering applying to this show, it would be a real challenge to find as good an outdoor show/festival with an across-the-board high level of work than Long’s Park.

When the weather co-operates, this show attracts buyers that understand what it takes to produce good work and are willing to spend money. As you know in this business there are no sure things, but this show comes close.



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