I set up at the Fairfield High School Craft Show last weekend. I want to detail some of my experiences to give you an idea of what to expect if you decide you want to do craft shows too. After researching the show online to find out who to contact, I called to get an application emailed to me. This one cost $40 to set up at. It was an extra $5 for a table and extra $5 if you needed electric. I had my own tables, and didn't need electric. The application included details that I needed to know for the show. It ran on Saturday from 9 to 4 and I was allowed in to the venue on Friday after 7 to set up. So I got there Friday night with all of my things and got everything set up. As soon as you arrive you will want to locate the people in charge and find out where to go. High school craft shows can be nice because they tend to have teenagers hanging out to help you unload your car and get it to where you need it.
It is relatively safe to leave your things just about anywhere you will be selling at. I just put a tablecloth over the top of my things to keep it hidden. There's always a chance that some things will walk off, but when you are in the situation where you are taking your things somewhere else to sell them, it's just a risk you have to take. I've found that other vendors tend to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior and so do the people that are in charge of the show or festival. This is pretty standard in my experience for all shows I've done.
On the morning of the show I try to get there at least fifteen minutes before it opens to settle myself in. There are almost always a couple things I forget that I have to set up when I get there in the morning. I also bring my cash box with money to make change. This is the one item that you do not leave alone no matter what. Guard it with your life. Also, I don't leave my cash in it when I'm walking back to my car. I have never ever had a problem. But at a really good show, you just don't want to be an easy target. I put the cash in my purse, or send it home with my mom while I'm packing up, or something. Then the cash box is just a piece of furniture like anything else so I don't have to worry about it.
At the show, it's v-e-r-y b-o-r-i-n-g. When you're busy dealing with customers, it's great. But even at some of my best shows, there are times when I'm just sitting around doing nothing. I try to bring a book, or clip my coupons, or something to pass the time.
The other big problem is finding time for potty breaks. Ask another vendor to keep an eye on your booth while you're away, then hurry. Be sure to take your cash box with you.
Once you've done a few shows, you'll have your own routine established, and won't think twice of any of the things I've listed. But having an idea of how the process works can really diminish the stress of getting started.