MAC Fair, my first craft fair of 2015, is coming up in less than a week, and I wanted to learn some new tidbits about this fantastic show. It’s one of my favourites, and one of the best in the Ottawa area. I love how well it’s organized, so I went to the organizer, Heather Bryce, and asked her a few questions.
1. How long have you been involved in MAC Fair?
It’s been five years since we started with the Christmas event, and this is our third Mother’s Day event.
2. When do you start planning for the Fair?
I’ll take a month off after this one, and then jurying for Christmas happens in June. The heavy work starts up again in September till December. For our spring fair, jurying is in February. It takes about 9 months of the year in total.
3. How many volunteers are involved?
That depends – we had 8 students groups benefitting from our Christmas event – so roughly 80-90 students, our Mother’s Day event is a bit smaller and we have 4 groups benefitting – so about 40 – 50 students. There are also about half a dozen other staff who help with setup and are there on event day.
4. What is your favourite aspect of the Fair?
I love seeing out students step up and help out, and the way that they interact with the guests and artisans. I love hearing our guests and artisans rave about our great kids here at MAC!
5. What is the most challenging aspect of organizing MAC Fair?
Not buying everything! Being part of the selection process, and then promoting the artisans year year round, I am constantly looking at fantastic handmade items.
About a week before each week, I can’t sleep because my head is swimming with details and when I do sleep, I have nightmares about nobody showing up, or event day coming and realizing that I haven’t set anything up.
6. Share a favourite story/anectode about a past Fair.
It was on my mom’s bucket list to make it out to MAC FAIR, (she lives out of town) and she finally made it here last Christmas. I had shared with the artisans that this needed to be our best event yet, and it was heartwarming to see how many of them made the effort to introduce themselves to “Heather’s mom.”
For our first two events, I lost my voice, and now for a couple of weeks before each event, I get emails from our veteran artisans teasing me and asking if I still have a voice!
7. What’s one thing that people should know about the Fair that they may not already know?
That when it started, I knew absolutely nothing about craft fairs, and that is has grown and expanded through listening to the feedback and suggestions from the artisans who really know their stuff. Our goal is not just to raise funds with this event, we want to ensure that it is profitable for our artisans and becomes one of their favourite events to attend, and that our customers feel the same way. We try to really think about the needs of everyone involved.
8. What’s new for the 2015 edition of MAC Fair: Bloom?
We are having a DEMO TABLE, where our artisans are running mini-seminars on their craft. Some will be run as an info session, and others will be hands-on where you’ll actually make something under their guidance. We’re pretty excited about it!
9. If the sky were the limit, what would you add to the Fair?
A bouncy castle, a traditional high tea for Mother’s Day and a huge light in the sky like the bat signal!
10. How do you see MAC Fair evolving in the future?
It’s becoming a pretty well-oiled machine. I hope it will become a top choice for local artisans.
I hope you enjoyed that peek into the MAC Fair! Visit the Fair on May 9th, 2015, and pick up a unique and handmade gift for Mother’s Day, or splurge on yourself. I look forward to seeing you there!