Hard to believe the 2009 Craft Fair has come and gone! After the months of meetings and planning it is all relegated to memory now, with the exception of the seemingly endless wrap up meetings still ongoing. lol... To say it was successful would certainly be an understatement!
For my part I can truly say that I have never been prouder of being part of a group of dedicated individuals working together to pull of something as monumental as an event with a 25 year history hosting over 300,000 people. Not only were we handed the event without much warning but we decided to take it on and expand it well beyond it's original proportions.
With the help of Kevin Batliner from the Mount Dora Community Trust and Grimm DePanicis from the Mount Dora Center for the Arts we stretched the event to over 400 booths, added a concert in the park by the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra, added an unprecedented number of corporate sponsors and even manged to squeeze in a Zombie Crawl. Check out the fabulous Zombie Crawl videos by Janet Craig & Rachelle Lucas. I made their names clickable links to take you straight to the videos.
I have heard it said about town that we the paid the Center for the Arts 20% of the revenues to run the Craft Fair on our behalf. Funny how rumors gain momentum in our little town and perpetuate like a wild fire in Florida scrub brush! Fact of the matter is the Center for the Arts, after much arm twisting, begrudgingly accepted our measly $1500 donation to their fabulous cause! The real gain in all of this of course being the paving of the way of a new level of cooperation between prior-to-now competing organizations. Kevin and Grimm have both signed on for next years Craft Fair which will be even better with our new ideas and dedicated team. And you can bet that Merchant Association members will be side-by-side with Kevin and Grimm at the Center for the Arts sponsored Art Festival in February!
Ironically though the rumored 20% number certainly has a basis in reality as that is just about how much we increased the Craft Fair revenues over last year with our new ideas and efforts. Bringing on professional event coordinator Shirley Wold allowed us to find the inefficiencies quickly and opened our eyes to a whole new way of doing things. The association is on the verge of unveiling it's new automated system which will allow crafters to interface with us online and eliminate the endless paper trail we have to currently follow! Stay tuned...
I will be posting a series of blogs about the Craft Fair as we wrap it all up this week in our meetings.