It’s time to ratchet up preparations for Marietta Marketplace 2015, and one of the first items on my list was to get the events on FairsandFestivals.net. While browsing the list of events already on the calendar for Ohio, I couldn’t help notice those long-standing established shows that boast 100, 200 or even more vendors. For a moment, I felt a pang of envy and wondered if I should try to grow the Marketplace more quickly. Then a memory came to mind…
Have you ever attended a huge craft show or antique flea market? I have. First step, try to find a parking space in a field or lot that is filling up fast with anxious would-be buyers. Next, make your way from car to entrance (try to remember where you parked), dragging along your water bottle, tote, purse, sunscreen, etc… Once inside the event, you are overwhelmed by the number of tents
and booths—where to begin? You’ll be sure to fall in love with something early on, and then you’ll have to make a decision. Snatch it up before someone else does? (Then you have to lug it around the rest of the day). But what if you buy it, and find another at a lower price? If you decide to think about it, will you remember where you saw it? And if you do remember, will you even feel like walking all the way back after a few more hours of shopping?
If any of this sounds familiar, then you have experienced the downside of the large events. Sure, the energy, diversity and selection of a large show are a plus. But let me tell you why a small venue is a great experience for both vendor and buyer.
As a vendor, you will not be lost in the crowd. If you sell jewelry, you will not be one of 40 jewelry sellers. You will not have to worry about arriving before dawn to stake out a prime spot. At Marietta Marketplace, each spot is a prime spot—in downtown Marietta, across the street from the shopping district, easily reached on foot or by car (even by bike path). When visitors arrive at the event, they will have ample time to browse each booth, and they are sure to see every vendor during their visit. Many people have seen the vendors promoted on Facebook, on the website, or in the local media. They will be eager to meet the artists and vendors they’ve heard about and see the products first hand.
As a visitor, you may park within yards of the Armory lawn, or very near. Admission is free, and you can approach the Marketplace from several directions. You’ll have the time (and energy) to extend your visit and walk to the nearby shops and eateries, making your day in Marietta even more satisfying. If you fall in love with a large item, don’t worry–your car is nearby! Having a hard time making a selection? That’s okay, because the venue is small enough that you can visit vendors more than once. In fact, take time to chat with them, learn their processes and inspirations, it makes your special purchase just a bit more special.
While large events and mega-shows have their appeal, I think for now I’ll take my Marketplace the way I like my towns—small, friendly and full of good things.
See you at the Armory!