Armadillo Bazaar – Day 18

December 26, 2006

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Just kidding about the Day 18 thing. Yes, today is the 18th day since the Bazaar opened, but it closed at 11 PM two evenings ago (on Christmas Eve). Mimi and I arrived home a few minutes past 2:30 on Christmas morning, after wearily packing up my artwork, tearing down the booth walls, lights, and displays, and loading everything in the van. As has become our post-Armadillo Christmas Day tradition, we slept in and spent the day lounging around watching Christmas movies and doing a bit of cooking and baking.

I’m happy with the way the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar went for me this year. My sales were down a bit from my previous 4-year average, but I have some strong leads on follow-up sales and commissions.  Plus, I really had a nice time at the Bazaar this year. It’s always a pleasure to visit with friends and patrons, and each year I feel more a part of the Armadillo “family” that has been growing since the event’s inception 31 years ago. Shoot, I’m happy for simply having gotten through the 16-day show without getting sick! The Austin Music Hall is not what you’d call a healthy place to spend 12 hours a day. Typically many of the artists and booth-sitters get sick sometime during the Bazaar, but illness didn’t seem to be such a problem this year. Future shows may prove to be healthier for us, as the Austin Music Hall is due to be remodeled starting any day now. The new structure is slated be a sleek, modern structure with a restaurant, a second level for seating and exhibits, and hopefully new, clean, allergen-free ductwork! Construction is due for completion in June, so even if it finishes behind schedule, next December’s Bazaar should be held in a newly remodeled space.

I took a straw poll of vendors’ sales at the Bazaar and got widely scattered results, from record-breaking highs to well below-average sales. The responses varied randomly between craft and fine art, so there were no noticeable patterns. Attendance was down early in the show, but it increased as the show progressed.  In the end, overall Bazaar attendance was down only 4% or so from 2005 (a record-breaking high attendance year). This is a pretty impressive turn-out, considering the parking challenges faced by Bazaar-goers this year. So, during teardown at midnight on Sunday, the Hall was filled with a fairly jovial bunch of vendors.

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