1. Join regional Etsy teams and stalk their blogs/web sites.
Regional Etsy teams can be a great resource for many things, including marketing, support, and networking. But where they really come in handy is their listings of member craft shows. Take Cleveland Handmade for example. Not only is this Etsy team running their own series of shows (Handmade Markets), the team keeps a running list of all the shows members are participating in right on the home page for their web site.
To find local teams near you, check out the Team Profiles page on Etsy and look for teams in your area along the left side of the list.
2. Get on ArtFairCalendar.com and do some digging.
If you are in Michigan. Illinois, Ohio, Florida or on the East or West coast, you need to check out Art Fair Calendar. This fantastic resource lists big and small art fairs by month with descriptions and links to the fair sites (where available). This is by far, one of the easiest ways to find shows in your area!
3. Check with local schools, PTA organizations, VFWs and churches.
This time of year, signs are popping up on every corner advertising holiday bazaars and craft shows -- and a lot of them are hosted by local organizations like churches, parent-teacher associations, and more. Most of these types of organizations take a summer recess, so your best bet is to start checking with them in September for holiday shows. A great way to find contacts for these types of organizations is to head over to your city's community center (if there is one) or city hall.
A lot of cities also have web sites and may publish a calendar. For example, check out the web site for the city of Lyndhurst, Ohio. I didn't have to scroll very far to find a directory of local organizations complete with contact names and phone numbers!
4. Collect calendars and newsletters from parks and recreation organizations.
Parks and recreation organizations are often big supporters of arts and crafts. Larger park organizations may be able to sustain arts programs all by themselves or they may partner with local art groups. Take Lorain County Metroparks, for example. Lorain County offers gallery shows at many of its nature centers in partnership with the True North Cultural Arts program. While the True North program is still growing, it did offer its first show last summer with some great success.
Cain Park is another Cleveland area park known for its summer arts festival and support of arts and crafts. To turn up this gem in a Google search i just entered was "Cleveland OH parks art" and clicked Search.
5. Keep your OWN show calendar.
And, a lot of shows are held more than once through the year -- so if you catch the first show in the spring, you can stake it out and see if it is someplace you want to be for the holidays.
I hope this helps everyone get started with finding some great shows in your area and I'd love to hear other tips for tracking down the all-elusive master show schedule. Please add to the comments on this post or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The next Art of the Craft Show article will talk about preparing your displays. See you then!