Interested in the Fiber & Folk Art Fair?

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Carol Cassidy-Fayer, organizer of the new Fiber and Folk Art Fair in Crystal Lake, IL, shared a lot of information with me about her plans for the new event. I think after you read this you will be as enthused about the possibilities of the Fair as I was.

First, about the event:

I am diligently working on getting the workshop list up – it is a FABULOUS list. There are 40(?) teachers, many with name recognition, all experts in their fields coming from all parts of the US, and 104 (?) workshops.

Booths sold to 58 vendors, California to Rhode Island and Texas to Minnesota! We will have live music at “Front Porch Music Stops” (5 of them) all day and live music on stage at night. The fine arts show will be open to all.

We are having a fundraiser dinner Saturday night to “Make a Little Magic”. When a bunch of good people get together in support of a good cause…REAL magic CAN and DOES happen! We will be raising money in partnership with the Northwest Area Arts Council (NAAC), our non-profit partner.

We have a wonderful beer garden with GREAT food and beer going all day and into the evenings…we want to promote the community of artists and give them time to relax and enjoy and network together in the evenings.

And, here is some background on Carol herself:

In early 2002, after time spent working in the fiber arts, I became involved in a community-based, grass roots effort to save an historic mansion and property in my town. I was asked to co-chair a fundraising drive to raise $1.6 million…but we only had 45 days to do it! – we succeeded! In the midst of doing this I had the education of a lifetime: resurrecting the community festival and carnival, creating other festivals to be “pillar projects” for the center…major fundraising events. Strategic planning, feasibility studies, surveys, fundraising, the decision to be an art center. Then came curating art shows, producing theatrical productions, running events.

I left after 4 years because it was time for me to go and because I needed to begin to earn income again! I thought, perhaps, I would go back to my fiber arts businesses, but they were not enough – I wanted to incorporate all of the new experiences plus my old ones into something that made sense, motivated me, and – provided an income that is self-supporting. The answer was…the fair.

I built the online marketing community for fiber arts – www.FibervilleUSA.com. It is growing and that has provided me with marketing opportunities as well for the fair.

Prior to my adventure, I had been moving more toward teaching, had authored a book on drop spinning, etc. A fair can teach a LOT of people, a world of people, not just one at a time! I had had experience vending and supporting my vendors at other fairs such as Maryland Sheep and Wool, FiberFest, Michigan Sheep and Wool, etc. I had had experience with huge crowds that attend the community festival, the art shows, dinners, theatricals. The fair tied it all together.

I took all my favorite experiences from all of these events, added some items from my own “wish list” and began, last year, to first test the market, then promote the new Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair. I tried very hard to shoot it…I did a small “feasibility study” and invited people I knew were pessimistic. I took my 50 page business plan to a professional, well-respected, business planner, I tested partnerships that I knew would be critical…and the more I did, the more excited people became, the more evident it became that this was something I had to do.

I have the partnerships in place, I now have some team members too. They have awesome experience and fill in the holes that I have. What’s more, all who attend the fair, be they vendors, artists, workshop teachers, students, attendees, are considered our guests and our priority is to inspire them, entertain them, and show them a good time.

Last, I believe in community service. I believe in giving back…or paying it forward, whichever you prefer. So, to be truly motivating for me, I had to have a portion of the fair do something positive in the world…or the community, the world is a very big place.

Interested? visit the website: www.fiberandfolk.com

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