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Gettin' Crafty: Crafty Ballyhoo and the top ten Do's and Don'ts of craft fairs

The site: Grant-Humphreys Mansion
The site: Grant-Humphreys Mansion

At Gettin' Crafty this week, we take a break from crafting to admire the crafts of others. Namely the talented crafters and designers participating at the second annual Crafty Ballyhoo, put on by Denver Handmade Alliance. This event also served as an etiquette reminder of what to do, and not do, when going to a craft fair.

The Crafty Ballyhoo fair on Sunday at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion was not your grandma's craft fair. As someone trained from a young age by a grandma from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (aka Amish country), and a Mormon friend, I know a bit about craft fairs: One can generally expect embroidered doilies, quilts, and, if my grandma is there, "Damnit Dolls". More on those another time. Even for a seasoned craft-goer like myself, attending a craft fair such as the Ballyhoo can be a bit of a mob scene. While Crafty Ballyhoo celebrates a new generation of crafters, there are a few things to always consider when attending a craft fair. Here are the top ten rules for craft fair attendance, regardless of if you're going with your grandma or your gay best friend.

Inside the basement of the Ballyhoo
Inside the basement of the Ballyhoo

1. Arrive late. It seems counterintuitive, get there early, get your pick of the best stuff. But that's what most people are thinking, making it cramped and anxiety inducing when doors open.

2. Have cash. While some vendors take plastic, don't count on it.

3. Bring snacks. And water. There may be food at the event, but it will likely be in the baked good/cupcake form, causing blood sugar to spike and potential irrational purchasing decisions.

4. Walk slooooowly. Even if you don't like the goods, take the time to at least glance at each booth and vendor.

5. It's a craft show, not your own personal runway. This is not the opportunity to show off your "hipper than thou" outfit choice and pile on every damn piece of vintage in your closet. It's a Sunday afternoon, a time usually reserved for sweats and holey socks. Don't be ridiculous.

6. Don't wear bulky coats. You'll just have to carry that crap around when you're inside, preventing you from touching anything.

7. Don't wear too much crafted stuff, otherwise people will think that you're jacking stuff from the booths.

8. Wear deodorant. I get it. You're "bohemian" or "alternative". In this case, be considerate of close quarters with limited airflow.

9. Have a question to ask vendors that makes you appear interested, but does not commit you to buying anything. Like, "What is this made out of?", not "How much is this?"

10. If you don't have anything nice to say, keep your damn mouth shut.

A DIY crafting station courtesy of the Ladies Fancywork Society
A DIY crafting station courtesy of the Ladies Fancywork Society

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