Granted, in any show in which one wins an award, the judges were great and the judging was fair. And if you don't win an award, the judges were idiots. But an artist friend and I were comparing notes, and found that in the past year, we both had experiences in which we felt that the judging was interfered with to some degree.
Case 1: The judge walked into my booth accompanied by a talkative show staff member. Now - I make jewelry, and for my focal pendants, I make 95% of my own necklaces to string them on. But the accompanying staff member walked to the back corner of the booth and found one of my lower price point pendants that I had strung on a purchased necklace. In order to impress the judge with her knowledge, she picked up the necklace and said, 'oh - she just gets these from <*well known jewelry supply company*>', at which point the judge just turned and walked out of the booth.
Case 2: Another talkative show staff member - this time not making derogatory comments about the work, but directing the judge's attention to another lower price point item and gushing about how cute it was. The judge agreed that it was cute and then left without looking at anything else.
Case 3: The judge came in with the show producer, who introduced the judge (we do appreciate that!!!). As the judge did a scan of my booth, the show producer stood right in the middle of the booth in front of the case with my best work and chatted with me about how the show was going (did she think I was going to say anything but that it was going great??!!).
I realize that some of these points bring up other issues, such as: whether or not to even put your lower price point items out until after the judges have passed through; whether you're more concerned with winning an award or selling your work; where to put your items in the booth that the judges are the most likely to look; or - whether or not to try to engage the judges (I've been at shows where the rules stated, 'do not talk to the judges unless they ask you a question').
My point is a message to show producers and staff: please be respectful of the artists time with the judges - sometimes we only get 10 seconds or so and conditions aren't always that great for judging anyway if our booth is full of customers. If you're going to accompany them to the booth, please stand back out of the way and let them do their job.