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January 3-4, Las Olas Art Fair, Part I, Fort Lauderdale, FL

January 3-4, Las Olas Art Fair, Part I, Fort Lauderdale. Contact: Howard Alan Events Ltd., 9695 West Broward Blvd., Plantation, FL 33324. Phone: 954-472-3755. Fax: 954-472-3891. E-mail: info@artfestival.com. Web site: www.artfestival.com. Application fee: $15 through Howard Alan Events, $25 through Zapplication. Space fee: $495. 100% outdoors.

By Donna Wilson
Florida & National Reporter
E-mail: inseleginc@aol.com
Medium: Paper collage

This is the second in a series of Howard Alan Events for me. (See my review of the Downtown Naples New Year's Weekend Art Fair in the April issue for more general information on Alan's shows.) Work caliber is excellent, as is advertising. (I live here and saw several ads on TV promoting this show.) Booth spaces are always tight, but at least most of us get a back space for storage. And that foul 5 a.m. setup is required. Ugh.

Alan does two winter shows here, one in January and one in March. January tends to be slightly better sales-wise, although both usually make the 200 Best. Parking is available, but you have to pay for it. And if you get the chance, eat at La bonne Crêpe, as the food and service are topnotch. Keep in mind, though, that this is Las Olas, where pricey is an understatement. There is a Cheesecake Factory if you want something more reasonable.

So, OK, it's the first of the new year, we have a new president, and we have positive hopes and attitudes. And if you were smart, you created new, different work during December when we didn't do shows. (And if you listened to me, you made some small, inexpensive pieces.) So how did the South Florida show circuit start out in 2009? First, the weather cooperated and we had a beautiful weekend for the 21st annual show. Second, crowds were huge, and I mean huge. Making your way anywhere around the show was a challenge. And - are you paying attention? - crowds were buying. What a shock! This was the first time in recent history that I was busy ALL day. I was selling, I was wrapping, I was taking orders. I had a great show. The really good news is that I wasn't the only one. Many of us with wall art did well. Believe it or not, jewelers and fiber artists didn't do as well, but literally all I spoke with had acceptable, if not actually good, sales. Let's hope this is a trend and isn't just a fluke.

If you are working the Florida show circuit, this show is a must-do. Apply only if you have good-caliber art and are willing to engage customers.