People line up early to get in the doors first at the Plainfield Tri Kappa Gingerbread Christmas. Held each year at Plainfield High School, this is the oldest craft show in the area. That’s no small feat, especially if you are familiar with the area. How has this become such a bustling marketplace? Oh, that’s easy. This show only features handcrafted, juried items.
Plainfield Tri Kappa Gingerbread Christmas
Some craft shows are little more than the same items over and over. You know what I mean. You’ve probably seen it too. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t worthwhile items mixed in, but sometimes, it just starts to feel like too much of the same. That isn’t the case with the Plainfield Tri Kappa Gingerbread Christmas.
This is a big deal. It’s not a free for all, where the craft show organizers have space for last-minute vendors, wondering if they will be lucky enough to fill up even a half of the ample room. No, they do things differently here. Even the vendors have to plan ahead to hope for inclusion. There is no last minute filling of the spaces.
The booth space hopefuls had to turn in their applications for consideration back in May. But it wasn’t just a fill it out and forget it application. It isn’t the kind of thing where every applicant will get a space. In fact, it’s not even a guarantee that applicants who were approved the year before will get a space.
When people expect the best of the best, you have to deliver. They do. The application process helps to ensure that each potential booth has a chance to share what they propose to exhibit. Each vendor must also include three images of their products, whether they are submitted via snail mail (and not returned) or through the website.
Oldest Craft Show in the Area
No one behind the Plainfield Tri Kappa Gingerbread Christmas show want to see this giant holiday event turn into a flea market or an antique shop. There are no imported items allowed. There’s no antiques or commercial items either. They want to highlight the best of the handmade best. So, how do they ensure that visitors can expect only the most incredible handcrafted or homemade goods?
The juried entries are a great start. Right away, they can see who will fit in. They can prevent duplicate booths. But in a particularly smart move, they also guarantee a successful show by switching up the board that accepts applications each year.
They also stick to the rules. If someone decides to mix in some imported items or antiques, they will not only ask them to remove the items from their booth, but that vendor will not be approved to return the next time.
By rotating the people who decide who gets to be a part of the oldest holiday craft show, they ensure that it will always be a little different yet still stick to their mission. It helps keep the show from becoming stale while bringing a new energy with it. No one gets burned out by the decision-making or time tables or endless planning. They share the load and keep it passing to different shoulders to bear.
It also helps keep people from wanting to keep the same vendors on year after year, long past when they are producing relevant, exciting, and interesting items. It serves to eliminate the bias and to help the organizers stay focused on what is important: a show that sweeps everyone off of their feet. A show that wows the visitors and that line the pockets of the hard-working vendors.
That is exactly what they have done.
What to Expect at Gingerbread Christmas
Wear comfortable shoes, have a game plan in place (have an idea of what you want, because everything is so amazing), and don’t arrive too late! When the doors open, people stream in–and they don’t stop. Get what you really want by getting there early. Start at the back and work your way to the front to avoid the crowds.
Cash would be a good idea but many booths did accept credit and bank cards, thanks to the use of services like Square, a magstripe reader that lets small businesses swipe major credit cards securely while conducting their business without the high fees charged by the credit card companies.
Every business must provide a receipt or a business card so you have a way to contact them later in case you have any questions or, like in my case, if I ever need to order any more “arrows” for the soft handmade bow and arrows set I got for each of our boys. Take advantage of that option! If there’s a business with items you really want, but you can’t necessarily get at the time, ask for a business card. Many of the vendors had Etsy shops and Facebook Pages, or their own studio spaces in their own towns and cities.
It was such a neat show that I am thinking my husband needs to submit an application next year for his handmade building blocks tables. We have never done anything like that but I am sure people would really enjoy them. I know our kids sure do.
There’s an amazing variety. From handmade jewelry to knitted scarves and gloves, to local honey, homemade dog treats, handcrafted wreaths and greenery, or home decor, you never know what you will find. But, you do know it will be amazing, just like it is every year.
Plainfield Christmas Craft Show
Get your shopping done and support local handcrafted artists under one big roof. Make plans now for the December 5, 2015 Plainfield Tri Kappa Gingerbread Christmas craft show at Plainfield High School in Plainfield, Indiana. The event runs from 9 AM to 3 PM EST.
Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!
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Plainfield High School
1 Red Pride Drive
Plainfield, IN 46168
Call the Plainfield Tri Kappa Gingerbread Christmas Organizers at 317.221.3600.
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