How to find local arts & crafts shows
Whether you are just getting started or looking to branch out, finding new events can be a real struggle. There are arts and crafts events going on near you all the time, but you probably don’t find out about them until they are happening or long gone. So what now? Mark your calendar and wait yet another year to throw your hat in the ring? It’s an endless cycle that requires a lot of time and energy, time and energy that you deserve to be investing in your business. So today I am going to walk you through some of the ways that I find out about new arts and crafts shows, fairs, and festivals near me, and hopefully these resources will make your life a little easier too.
Events Listing Websites
We might as well get the obvious out of the way. Event Listing websites (like ours, for example) are places where event coordinators go to submit their event information and reach more vendors. Unlike DFW Craft Shows, most event sites charge you money to access vendor information. Their sites attempt to cover all events nationwide, which means they are not going to be focused in your area specifically. When you are doing your research, you need to pick an event listing site that offers you the most value AND is the most active in your local area.
PROS: Event listings will usually include vendor booth information. Event scams don’t happen as frequently here vs social media (but always do your homework).
CONS: Unlike DFW Craft Shows, most event listing sites will charge you money to access vendor information. These sites typically cover events nationwide and do not specialize in any one area.
CONCLUSION: Event Listing websites can be helpful, but unless you have one focused specifically on your area (like DFW Craft Shows), it can be really difficult to find a good fit. It’s a good place to look, but it’s certainly not the end all be all in your event search.
Good news for the North Texas / DFW Area
If you live in the extended North Texas area, I am excited to tell you that DFW Craft Shows is THE local arts, crafts, and events site focused on you and your local community. Our site specializes in the extended Dallas / Fort Worth / North Texas area. It was created by a vendor (hi, that’s me) over a decade ago, born from all the tireless research I was doing to find new events and vendor booth information for my own small business. The website continues to serve as an arts and crafts hub for North Texas, helping shoppers, vendors, and local events connect. You can take advantage of my hard work and keep up to date with local event news in a variety of ways, including:
If you have resisted creating a Facebook account until now, it is time to take that leap. You can find a lot of really cool events simply by being present and networking. Facebook is probably one of the best social media channels to find events on. There are a couple of different tools that you can use in your quest for local event information.
Facebook Events seems like the obvious answer, right? You can use the filters on the left hand side to sort events by type, or you can use the filters on the top right. Unfortunately, when you select a category on the left hand side, you will find that you can no longer search for events in your greater area. The option for “local” disappears, and you cannot search by terms such as North Texas or DFW. The search filters are restricted to selecting a specific city–and no, you cannot select more than one, which means you will have to search your area one city at a time.
Facebook events are more geared toward attendance than they are vendors, so you cannot search for events still accepting vendor applications or looking for specific vendor types like you can with our events calendar. And because most Facebook Events are created to attract shoppers, not vendors, you will probably have to do some serious digging to find contact and vendor information.
PROS: Facebook will sometimes suggest events they think you might be interested in.
CONS: Organization and filtering is extremely limited. Events are aimed at attracting shoppers, not vendors. Events are not always very responsive via Facebook, and finding contact information can be difficult.
CONCLUSION: Digging for events on a social media platform made for ALL THE THINGS can be difficult and time consuming. Facebook Events is worth taking a look at, but it rarely makes finding vendor information much easier.
There are a lot of Facebook groups out there for vendors now, with the sole purpose of receiving and circulating local event information. A search for “vendor” and the name of your area or city should render you at least a handful of results. I cannot stress how important this next part is: Most Facebook groups have little to no barrier to entry when it comes to promoting events, which means they are a prime breeding ground for scams.
While many scam events look pretty obvious from the get go, some of them are VERY convincing. It takes an experienced and trained eye to catch them, so you need to do your homework if you are going to use Facebook groups to find events. We have a full post on how to identify event scams and avoid fraud, so check that out before you start sending anyone money.
Of course, it’s important to realize that not all vendor groups are created equal either. You are looking for a group with active and diligent admins to help filter out fraud, just like in our own DFW Craft Shows Community group. Even then, you need to keep in mind that group admins are volunteering their time around their own busy lives, and they are never going to be able to catch all the event scams coming through the pipes–especially when they are happening so frequently these days.
PROS: Accessing events on social media is free. Facebook groups can see a lot of traffic since most of them have little barrier to entry and are so easy to post in.
CONS: Many large Facebook vendor groups are rife with fraud and need an extreme level of caution when being used to find booths and exchange funds.
CONCLUSION: Facebook groups can be a good place to identify legit event coordinators and network with other vendors, but they also require a heightened level of awareness and additional research in order to avoid scam events and fraud.
Arts & Crafts Community for Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) Extended Area
The Community Group for DFW Craft Shows only posts vendor calls for events that have been processed through the site. Each and every post is moderated before it is published. Does that mean it’s foolproof? No, it’s still a group full of thousands of people. What it does mean is that it is a lot easier for us to keep the shady business far, far away from our vendors.
Though instagram is mostly about beautiful visuals and videos, networking with local vendors, venues and event coordinators can help you stay up to date about upcoming events. This occurs as a natural result of meeting and connecting with other local vendors as you network. It’s true, event posts on your feed may not help you much for this year, but you can start adding to your list for next year.
Keep in mind that instagram doesn’t really do links, so you will have to dig through some profiles and websites to find detailed event information. Our instagram profile links straight to our instalinks page to give you a cheat sheet for finding what you are looking for as quickly as possible.
PROS: Scrolling instagram is always fun. Event posts will appear on your feed naturally the more you network.
CONS: Event info is usually seen as the event is approaching and vendors applications will probably be closed. You will have to dig through profile links and websites for additional information.
CONCLUSION: Instagram is never to be ignored; it can be great for networking in many ways, but it will certainly not be a strong, primary source of event information.
One of the easiest and most reliable ways to find new shows is simply to get out there! As you participate in more and more events, you will meet more amazing vendors who can share their own experiences with you. Chat with booth neighbors and find out what their favorite shows are. Offer up your own favorites. Bond over your mutual love for DFW Craft Shows. Follow each other on social media. Network!
PROS: Networking is a powerful tool. Each event you participate in is another piece of the puzzle.
CONS: Doing events requires you to first find events and get accepted. It can feel like a really difficult cycle to get started when you don’t have someone like DFW Craft Shows doing the heavy lifting and cheering you on.
CONCLUSION: Don’t hesitate to get your feet wet and jump out there into an event that feels valid and promising. You will learn something from each event and each vendor you encounter, and all that knowledge translates into quite a bit of research power.
You’ve got this!
I know that finding event information can be extremely time consuming. I hope this post will help give you an idea of where you can find information on arts and crafts events near you and what tools you can use on these various platforms to be most successful. As always, the key to success lies in spending the time to find and verify your event information. It may sound daunting, but it certainly is possible. And, like anything, the more you do it, the easier it will get.
Am I missing something?
Did I miss one of your favorite sources of show information? Help a vendor out and drop it in the comments.
Ready, Set, Craft Show!
Need a little help developing or streamlining the perfect prep plan for easy craft show packing and setup? Never fear! I have compiled a detailed list of all the supplies you might want to consider for your arts & crafts shows, along with tips and tricks for a smooth and successful event. You can find it all right here in the Craft Show Survival Kit series. Good luck!