Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Plainfield Art Festival: Will rain deal a death blow?

Festival used to draw artists from the tri-state area.

The 47th Annual Plainfield Outdoor Festival of Art is slated for Saturday, September 4 at Library Park.

Whether rain will be the death of the fair is an open question.

It is raining as I write this, which caused me to review the festival's in-case-of-rain arrangements on the event flyer (downloadable here, PDF).

I have commended the Robinson-Briggs administration before for taking on the Festival after the original Central Jersey Chamber of Commerce committee disbanded.

Unfortunately, the festival -- once renowned for drawing artists from the tri-state area -- has suffered declining participation by artists and craftspersons ever since, as well as declining attendance.

I don't know whether it is because of the change of date from mid-July (many artists and craftspeople are booked years in advance), the challenge of recruiting is too big (it must be carried on all year-round), or the marketing needed is beyond the abilities of the Recreation Division (targeted advertising is a must, meaning MONTHS in advance of the event). In any event, the festival is struggling.

And the in-case-of-rain arrangements could be the coup-de-grĂ¢ce.

Once again, vendors and the public will be directed to Washington Community School in the event of inclement weather.

What's wrong with Washington School?

Nothing, except that it's too far from Library Park, not easy for vendors or visitors to find, and has extremely limited parking.

I raised these issues with the Recreation Division the first year they ran the festival, suggesting that the Plainfield High School cafeteria makes more sense.

Consider these advantages --

  • PHS is right up the street from Library Park (you can actually SEE it);

  • The PHS cafeteria is spacious and accessible directly from the parking lot;

  • There is more than enough parking for vendors AND visitors; and

  • Signage needed in case of a venue change would be easy -- how much simpler than an arrow can you get?
Alas, the flyer remains unchanged despite promises that Rec would consider it.

Maybe they did consider it, and decided the convenience to the vendors and public was just not all that important.

And maybe the whole festival was so important that it didn't even demand a fresh flyer.

Just a repeat of last year's with updated date info.

Now there's a real recipe for success.

47th Annual Outdoor Festival of Art

Saturday, September 4
10 AM - 4 PM

Library Park
West 8th Street and Arlington Avenue

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Dan, The DOWNTOWN Plainfield Art's Festival was a clever way to generate foot traffic to the business section of town during the Dog Days of August. Art for art sake is fine, but Taxpayer money spent [staff etc] should have some targeted motive, and NOT draw people AWAY from the business district ! [Yes when my 6th grade art work was posted in a commercial venue, the entire family was dragged to view it, and buy lunch for everyone .. very clever as I look back on it]

Blackdog said...

We are talking about the current regime . . . I honestly belive that they don't like to take on any endeavors where there is no DRAMA involved. For them, simple is too difficult!

Anonymous said...

That's also kind of like Santa Claus coming to town ... it was suppose to be to open the shopping season, now it is a time look for votes at City Hall.