Renegade Full Report

As Promised time for a full report on the Renegade Craft Fair.

First things first, I had been looking forward to go to this for quite awhile, so I was all ready to be dazzled. However, overall I probably give it a 7 out of 10. Leaps and bounds above the standard touring art fair that seems to show up everywhere, but room for improvement.

My biggest gripe for the entire event would be parking, of the extreme lack thereof. I double and triple checked the website for information. It told me how to get there if taking the EL, if I was biking, but nothing about a car. I live 2 hours away from Chicago, biking isn't an option... Looked for other info online and in past years this was a bad area as well... great start. So after 2 traffic jams, we were in the area, and yup, no parking. The fair is basically set up in a neighborhood, so there aren't any parking garages, and about 60% (or more) of the street parking is permit only. After driving around for 20 min, and almost just giving up, I scored a spot.

Step 1: Get there - CHECK

It was much bigger then I expected, and had white tents as far as the eye could see as well as so many people near the booths you could barely move. I didn't even go in a lot of them because it was just too packed with people. Plus the people were for the lack of better words, assholes. Pushy, grabby, etc. They would push right in front of you only to stop right in the middle of the flow of "traffic." People would just stand in large groups right outside a booth and chat, when they were obviously in everyone's way. I mean come on people, look around you, have common sense.

So, after that rant, lets break it down into some lists:

  • Overall Great contest for an art fair, not too many watercolors of a beach going on if you know what I mean
  • Some illustrators I have seen on the web forever and got to see in person
  • I met Jay Ryan
  • Found art that would normally be somewhat hard to find (although most of it is actually on etsy you just need to look)
  • Free
  • Some good food and beer tent (although I didn't have any beer)
  • No parking
  • Everybody else who was there (ha... I sound like I need to live in a shack out in the woods or something)
  • Booth after booth of overpriced screen printed t-shirts. $30 for a t-shirt, probably not. That's just me though.
  • Lack of vendors who excepted credit card (even the food). I have taken this as a normal part of everyday life and didn't expect people to not except it (maybe some, but not THAT many). One place actually accepted checks, but not plastic. I didn't bring a ton of cash one me since I had planned on credit cards, so I was wrong.

To expand on the last con above I think etsy is the culprit behind this part though. Most of the vendors are on etsy and etsy takes care of all of the transactions for them. So if that is the only place you sell, you don't need CC services. However, then put yourself in a setting like this, and now you can only take cash, and limit your potential cash flow. It seems like there would be a way to do it with a smart phone and paypal (actually I know you can).

Ok, so back to the rating of a 7 out of 10. It was fun, I am glad I went, and will try to go up for the holiday sale. However, I think I prefer the much smaller and low key INDIEana Craft Exchange that I went to last year. But Renegade started out small too, and it's just grown to where it is now. I know the planners put a lot into it, but there are some problems that need to be fixed. Parking, and maybe some diversity of vendors, too much of the same thing.


September 16, 2009 at 9:59 AM

RiRi Willow said...

Ooooo love the plates and pillows!

Post a Comment