The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Top 5 Tips for Event Success

Posted by | December 7, 2018 | Filed under: Culture

You don't break records year after year without a lot of things going right. After an awesome 31st annual Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival, we share our top five secrets to success.


1. Build Upon a 30-year Reputation

Alice, Joan, Joanne, Sandra, Doris, Rhoda, Ed, Herb, Dick, and Gene—Did they have any idea the 3 years of planning they put into the first Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival would lead to this, southern Maine's premier crafts show? They put the right pieces into place for the inaugural event and shepherded the festival toward its early growth. Their dedication, and that of those who followed, forced high standards and built a loyal following. Word of mouth is our best publicity.

What do artisans say?

"This is the best run show we do every year."
"It’s one show we do where the customers seem universally happy. It’s a joy for everyone."
"Best crafts & arts fair in Maine."

2. Host on a Spacious Seaside Hilltop Amidst Historic Structures

Two barns, five tents, and lots of lawn give us some elbow room, but it's still a test to arrange the layout for smooth flow and maximum visual impact. There's no doubt the old farm buildings possess a powerful wow factor that can humble attendees.


3. Invite 120 of New England's Finest Artisans

Our all-volunteer jury ranks scores of applicants, but it's not strictly a numbers game. Jurists refine the results to be sure a variety of mediums are represented and to bring new people into the fold. About a third of 2018's artisans weren't in the 2017 show.

Simple pie chart showing 99% yes and 1% asterisk. Will you apply next year?
99% "will apply again"

What all artists have in common is a desire to return for more. We poll exhibitors each year to learn how things went for everyone. This year, only one responding exhibitor indicated they would not apply again in 2019. We love why:

We will be traveling the world the next couple years… This show is very special to us and you should be very proud of it.

4. Give Your Volunteers Whatever Support They Need

Really. It's a heckuva workload to host such a show. Planning for "next year" starts almost as soon as the last crafter rolls down the hill on their way home. The organizing committee is a meticulous and resourceful crew that just needs some underpinnings of support. They've earned responsiveness from the staff. We do our best to deliver.

Pat, Denise, Pam, Sue, Michele, and Liz—they're the tops. And they can only do what they do because standing right beside them are the support team: Linda, Montress, Quincy, Rebecca, Rick, Robin, Thomas, Brian, Marina, and Sandy. When these volunteers take the lead, great things happen.

For the 2018 weekend, 177 volunteers gladly dedicated time to ensure success. From hospitality to hot dogs, from the raffle to traffic control, and from electricity to trash duty, their contributions smoothed the way for artists and visitors.


5. Welcome Visitors with Open Arms

At the 2018 crafts festival, we admitted 1,000 people in the first hour and several hundred more by noon on our way to a record 2,977 Saturday tally. We've learned the importance of moving people into the event efficiently. We follow a parking plan and task skilled volunteers to carry it out. At the admission booth, we stick with easy increments, avoiding dollar amounts that force us to make change. And even though it can be hectic and crowded, we aim to greet each visitor with a smile and stand ready to answer all questions.


Bonus Tip: Arrange Good Weather

We've had our meteorological moments during some festivals, but the weekend after Labor Day is a pretty safe bet for good weather. We've heard that brides-to-be have planned their weddings for crafts festival weekend because they've seen how well it works for us. This year was about as perfect as could be. Wish us well in future years!


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