By: Sharon Aron Baron
Tamarac’s first Art’s & Crafts event went better than expected for an inaugural event drawing hundreds of local residents and getting high marks from vendors.
According to Peter Mason Executive Director of the Tamarac Chamber of Commerce, the two-day event held in early April had over 78 artists and crafters along with 15 food trucks brought in over 2,000 people – not including the vendors.
“We did an exit survey with the vendors and 98 percent said they would definitely return and two percent were pending,” said Mason.
Mason said that the Arts & Crafts Festival was the biggest event that the chamber had ever done and had a few challenges.
“We took a gamble because we could have looked silly. It’s quite complex and because we haven’t done it before, we didn’t have a playbook, we made mistakes.”
Initially, the chamber wanted to do a juried event. They created a cookbook to raise prize money last fall, but Mason said that didn’t work at all. They had to take corrective action to get vendors to come to an event that hadn’t proven itself in an area that they weren’t even sure was going to work. They enticed vendors by making their fees complimentary to fill the site.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t think people would buy, but they did. That was the biggest surprise of the whole thing.”
Mason said that the chamber was overwhelmed by all of the local artists that came. He said they received feedback from residents that an event of this type was long-awaited. One of the vendors from Miami who was making the circuit to various festivals told him that they made $1,500 which was a first for them at a new event.
The chamber lost a little bit of money, but Mason sees it as an investment. “We honestly believe we’ve contributed to the perception of Tamarac, and for all those new residents or people thinking about coming to Tamarac, they’ve got this little thing – and it’s a contribution the chamber’s made.”
Mason believes they have the playbook together now and just need to find the identity and the fun factor for the next event. Also, the right date. Next year he’s looking at scheduling the event during the last week in February since most of the snowbirds go home in April.
“Our goals were to bring the community together, get that hometown pride out and to show that Tamarac is changing in a nice way.”