So, as I had hoped and planned for months, we made it out to the Renegade Craft Fair today. At the risk of pissing people off I will give it a resounding "meh." To be fair I was really tired and I don't like crowds and I really don't like pretentious hipsters, so those parts may have played a role in my underwhelment. There was some cool stuff, but nothing that really grabbed me and made me exclaim "oh, awesome!!!!" with the exception of some dinner ware printed with skulls and skeletons.
The fair itself is 5 blocks long with booths back to back, so roughly a mile long loop. Traffic flow was a little awkward as people liked standing in large groups directly in the way. I only had one or two irritating cane incidents with people staring or being exceptionally rude, so that was a plus.
It may be that everything started to flow together near the end, but it seemed like I saw the same or nearly the same thing ever 5 booths or so. Screen prints on clothing, mostly t-shirts, were probably the most represented item, some clever, some pretty. I'd say that jewelry of various types came in second. Prints and/or letterpress on paper probably third. There were a few booths with yarn, but nothing that I reached out and grabbed me. A few places with hand knitted or crocheted goods that were cute but I'm still in the "I'll make it myself, dammit!" phase, so while I admired, I wasn't that interested. Some cute plush toys, but, again, nothing that really grabbed me. A couple places with fascinators or hair baubles or whatever you want to call them.
So...meh. Some of the proprietors/crafters/whathaveyou were very professional without being stuffy, available for questions but not pushy. Others were camped in the back of their alloted tent with their buddies cackling, or with eyes firmly on the ground, and probably not helping their bottom line much. :/ The usual for craft fairs, I guess.
I just expected a bit more. I thought there would be more yarn. I expected more hand-thrown pottery. I didn't expect nearly so many screen-print shops. I thought there would be more variety in terms of media and designs and motifs. Like I said, a lot of the screen-print stuff flowed together for me and screen-printing is something I'm really interested in, so it's not like I just wasn't interested. There seemed to be a lot of pastel on pastel stylized floral or vegetal motifs; a whole lot of basic line-art or nearly clip-art type designs like bicycles or cameras. Most cool and well done technically but not a lot of reach out and grab you oh that's cool I must have it type stuff. At least to me.
Anyway, it's possible it was just me. Or maybe it was an off year given the economy and other issues. Or maybe my expectations were all wrong. Who knows. It did give me ideas, though, mostly about setting up booths and what I though worked and didn't work so far as organization of space and stock goes. And I certainly wish all the crafters who were there with their stuff well and hope they do well this weekend.