Archive for Monday, November 20, 2006

Turnout disappoints vendors at Holiday Bazaar

November 20, 2006


The holiday season had its unofficial kickoff Sunday, but it didn't have the kick some would have liked.

The 30th annual Holiday Bazaar, a holiday-tinged crafts fair, drew more than 130 vendors Sunday to the Community Building, but both organizers and merchants said it didn't bring the kind of crowed they hoped.

"This was about the worst we've had," Independence, Mo., merchant George Evinger said.

The event, organized for the last five years by the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, featured merchants from across the Midwest, along with local bands and choir bell-ringers pumping out holiday tunes all afternoon.

On a surprisingly pleasant mid-November day, organizers said most expected a nice turnout from the community.

All of the vendor spaces sold out more than a month ago.

But for whatever reason, the big crowds didn't pan out Sunday.

"Traffic wasn't as good as it was last year," said Duane Peterson, special events supervisor for Lawrence Parks and Recreation.

Peterson said crowds last year topped 4,000, but this year he estimated the number of people looking for holiday-themed crafts hovered around 3,000, if that.

"We had a steady flow for a while," Peterson said. But in the end, the numbers didn't compare with years past.

A group of glowing red-nosed Rudolphs light the way to the 30th annual Holiday Bazaar on Sunday at the Lawrence Community Building, 115 W. 11th St. The event featured seasonal crafts, food and other items.

A group of glowing red-nosed Rudolphs light the way to the 30th annual Holiday Bazaar on Sunday at the Lawrence Community Building, 115 W. 11th St. The event featured seasonal crafts, food and other items.

The lack of foot traffic could have been attributed to a number of things, he said. The Chiefs game was on, at Arrowhead Stadium. Plus, Peterson said many local crafts shows have suffered from low turnout, likely because of the economy.

But Eudora jewelry maker Kristi Mossberg said this was as bad as she's seen.

"The sad thing was, we did better at the Eudora Fest," Mossberg said as she packed up some snow globes she made with her mother, Sandy Clark.

Although this was both Clark and Mossberg's first year selling goods at the bazaar, Clark said she'd attended in years past.

Back then, the craft fair was packed.

"It used to be standing-room only," she said.

As George Evinger and his niece, Laura Hosek, packed their shelves of handcrafted bowls and sculptures, Hosek offered another answer for the slow business.

"It's Wal-Mart," she said.

Big-box retailers can sell good-looking plates and bowls just the same as smaller artists, but at drastically lower prices.

When people come to craft shows, they often have a difficult time justifying spending $40 on pottery when they could go to a national retailer and spend less, Hosek said.

About half an hour before the bazaar ended, Hosek already had most of her pottery wrapped in newspaper and packed away in boxes.

She quickly wrapped a small brown bowl, its rough exterior contrasted by its smooth, polished inside.

Only her uncle stood by to see it.


Nikki May 11 years, 7 months ago

See, I would have gone if I'd known about it. I hate that I missed it.

superduper 11 years, 7 months ago

I never heard when it was. There seem to be a lot of events like that. I'm pretty in touch with what's going on in Lawrence but always find out after the fact.

justtemp 11 years, 7 months ago

I am at the Community Bldg. twice a week for a Parks & Rec. class. Did I overlook the flyers about Sunday's Bazaar? I just don't remember seeing anything.

tir 11 years, 7 months ago

Rats! I usually go to this bazaar to shop for Christmas gifts, and I'm very sorry to have missed it. I don't recall seeing any publicity for it--maybe there was some, but if so, I didn't see it. Maybe next year there needs to be more and better advertising.

mom_of_three 11 years, 7 months ago

I usually go to local crafts shows, but I missed this one. It may have been in the LJW world calendar section, but I didn't notice it.
Now, after the fact, I do remember seeing one flyer downtown when I was eating, but didn't notice the date.
It's not as heavily promoted as art in the park.
Sorry I missed it. I usually find a couple of unique gifts for my family and myself.

Richard Ballard 11 years, 7 months ago

"It's Wal-Mart," she said. OMG! This is Wal-marts fault too?

Get real!

Like an awful lot of events in Lawrence my wife & I would have liked to attend, we didn't know about it. Then, we find about it on Monday, after the fact, while reading the J-W blurb.

You can't go to it if you don't know about it.

Seems like the J-W is always very reluctant to offer free coverage of these events before the fact, but very quick to pick up on dis-satisfied participants after the fact.


Kontum1972 11 years, 7 months ago

wal mart was dead too..its not walmart....its sports....its the economy.....

its the bush war..and the war he wants with iran...u think we have problems with iraq and afganistan....iran will make it even worse....

people are just taking it one day at a it looks like some bad PR ......who do we fire?

mom_of_three 11 years, 7 months ago

It looks like it was on the calendar, and I was keeping my eyes out for it, but I just missed finding it, I guess.

So maybe the organizers will get more publicity next year?

Confrontation 11 years, 7 months ago

It's sad that someone has to blame Wal-Mart just because most people don't want to buy their overpriced crap art. I'm surprised the City of Lawrence didn't purchase all the leftover trash and display it around town.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 7 months ago

Maybe it's best to schedule events such as these AFTER thanksgiving.

Saturday at the Arts Center: Bizarre Bazarre the annual holiday gift show 9-5 featuring tons of local artists and crafts people.

Kat Christian 11 years, 7 months ago

Well there also was a game at KU - the traffic was horrendous for a while. Whenever there is a big game downtown shopping is slow. Until after the game.
I would have liked to have gone to this craft fair but unfortuantely didn't have any money to spend. I live check to check. Craft fairs and the likes are a luxury for me. Heck I can barely afford Walmart. And I have a steady job with a steady income - only it goes for rent, utils. and feeding us. But this is the American way. RIGHT???

imagold 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm guessing people got lost in the roundabouts.

mom_of_three 11 years, 7 months ago

I guess I missed the previous two articles in the paper. Maybe it was the name and I confused it with something else. Was it always before Thanksgiving?

Tammy Copp-Barta 11 years, 7 months ago

I didn't go, just like I quit going to Maple Leaf, because it's the same stuff every time. Plus in the past it was so full you were tripping over people or strollers and it's not worth the hassle.

I did read about it in the paper and I saw it posted somewhere else, but for the life of me can't remember where I saw it.

bankboy119 11 years, 7 months ago

I never saw it advertised anywhere.

And yes I'm sure it's Bush's fault that this craft-fair had a bad turnout. That was the most pathetic post I've seen in awhile.

Emily Hadley 11 years, 7 months ago

I planned to go check it out, but then forgot because I was so determined to avoid downtown with the game craziness, which continued from football Saturday to basketball Sunday. Normally I pass by the Arts Center several times on the weekend, and would have spotted something going on.

I think it is funny that a few of those who complained here about not knowing in advance also spend twelve hours a day commenting on other ljworld news stories. I guess they are just really selective about their copious news appetite.

Can we all just start over? Can we have another one? Wasn't there something like this in East Lawrence in the past, but on a regular basis, like once a month?

james bush 11 years, 7 months ago

The Topeka Cap Journal ran a big story on wood carvers and their trade and sales show a week after the gathering on Nov 11 and 12. It would've been a good place to get gifts too. Never saw it advertized either.

Wallabe 11 years, 7 months ago

I really didn't have much interest in this article until Wal-Mart was mentioned. This has to be the most ridiculous presuposition that I have yet to here. Get a grip! Wal-Mart is an ologopoly NOT satan! Perhaps if Wal-Mart is the issue than the business owners selling their products should be more competitive. I really don't want to hear anything about wholesale prices, faults in supply chains, and so on... If you can't figure out how to do it better than the next business than you may lose in the long run anyhow. Besides, there are many thriving small businesses with niche markets that Wal-Mart could never even possibly fill... Hosek needs to take a class in economics and focus her attention on economies of scale and diseconomies of scale...


Susan Lee 11 years, 7 months ago

Good grief. Even the Salina Journal (known locally as the Salina Urinal - sorry) has a daily column of events in town and in the surround area. It is right inside the front page - always. They list events for that day and for the 2 or 3 upcoming, so there are several opportunities for readers to become aware of any bake sale, craft happening, musical extravaganza, speaker, etc.

Of course, we don't have the option of making comments on local news like you do. I guess we are enlightened yet silent readers!

gbaker 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure they didn't sell much, the homeless there have no money.

mom_of_three 11 years, 7 months ago

There is a daily column of events in the paper(not on the front section), but I don't subscribe to the paper, as I read on-line.

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 7 months ago

Yeah all the organizers are just sitting here reading what all of you without jobs and sitting at home have to think about the bazaar that is an ANNUAL event. Maybe if you people want to check out these events you hear about you should find out more about them, maybe do a little research of your own. Quit being lazy, it was in the LJW, it was on, it's been in flyers, and again it's ANNUAL it happens every year. SHOCKER!!!

4boysfinallyagirl 11 years, 6 months ago

I know this is a late post--hopefully someone will read it! I used to do this show and the one they have the first Sunday in September, and I used to do great at them! I make jewelry, but I also sell a wide selection of unique jewelry items that I don't make and are hard to find in stores. Then a jewelry maker pitched a fit at this show four years ago and parks and rec banned all commercial jewelry at their shows. I am so tired of all the "artists" in Lawrence blaming everything and everyone else if nobody buys their stuff. They want to have a monopoly because they think people like me are taking all their customers. Did anyone ever stop to think that people just don't like their stuff or aren't willing to pay an overinflated price for their "art"? I used to do great at these shows, and had several repeat customers. Also, I've done enough of these shows to know that when there's good weather this time of year, people are raking leaves or hanging Christmas lights! Plus, the September show has food and some kids' activities--it's a family event.

PS--"Craft Shows" don't have good attendance anymore. "Holiday Gift Marts" with novel items that are both handmade and commercially made still have good attendance because people are looking for new and different gifts that they think someone will LIKE, not because it's ART!! Don't we have enough things geared toward "artists" in this town?

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