Wednesday, August 20, 2008

411 on Fairs

Sheila inquired how one goes about entering fairs.  I think that's an excellent question.  The first step is to find them -- believe it or not, I'm still bumping into people in my area that have of yet to learn about the BIG E ... the ninth largest state fair that takes place in the US, practically in our backyard (Massachusetts).

So here is what I recommend:
1. Use the Internet.  Google/search for fairs in your state using key words like "Connecticut" and "fair."  Then see what is close to you.  Of those that may be, add to the search "sheep."  Usually if animals are part of the fair, this is a good sign that fiber arts will be too.  Next, add "crochet" to see what hits you get.  You may get none.  If that's the case use "knit."  If you get "knit," visit that webpage and send an email to the "CONTACT US" folks.  Ask for someone to contact you about entering into their needlecraft competition.

2.  Check with your local yarn shops.  Some sponsor prizes for the fair(s), so they'll usually know. 

3.  Check with your local crochet and knit groups both locally and online.

Once armed with all the information, if you're not ready to enter this year, still go and check out what is being submitted.  This will give you an idea of what type of entries they're looking for, the space they have available for displaying various works, how it is protected from the public, and it gives you an opportunity to ask questions in person.

Next, Karen inquired about the mannequins that my work was on.  Is it necessary for me to provide them?  The answer is NO.  I have been entering the Bridgewater Fair since 2001, and it wasn't until last year that I inquired with the coordinator if she'd like for me to use them.  She was thrilled as she said, "it adds more dimension and interest to the display."  I strongly recommend you inquire and get the OK first before submitting items displayed on your own mannequins.

As to where I got my mannequins -- that I have Mr. Dee to thank.  He found a store remodeling and asked what they were going to do with the old store displays.  They opted to give him the mannequins rather than toss them into the garbage bin, costing him nothing to obtain them.  Most stores remodel every 10 years or so (it's written in most rental agreements that the store stay "fresh" with the times), so ask!  The very worst you'll hear is "No," the very best is "Yes."  If you can't wait, then check out sites like ebay.

No matter what you opt to enter, do ensure all your ends are properly woven in, that your work is clean and blocked.  Your work is being judged so you'll want it to look it's very best!  If you win a ribbon, that's great!  If it doesn't, that's OK too -- someone may have been inspired to try crochet when they looked at your entry and that alone is priceless!!!  :)

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