Show Review of the Month Halifax Art Festival

June 2022, by Brenda Flynn 

November 6-7, 2021, 59th Annual Halifax Art Festival, Daytona Beach, FL. Contact: Guild of the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Pam Fieldus, 352 S. Nova Road, Daytona Beach, FL 32114; Phone: 386-405-2140; Email: halifaxartfestival@gmail.com; Website: www.halifaxartfestival.org; Application fee: $40; Space fees: $185 to $300; Space size: 12x12; Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; 100% outdoors; Exhibitor spaces: 150; Attendance estimate: 6,000 (normally 35,000); Admission: free. 

By Brenda Flynn 

Unfortunately, Mother Nature showed up with a vengeance and really did a number on the Halifax Art Festival this year. Set-up was on Friday as usual (although you are allowed to set up on Saturday) and not only was it quite cold, but rain was coming down in sheets, and the wind was gusting at 30 mph.  Yes, many of us art gypsies went ahead and set up, and by Saturday morning, almost all the tents set up on Friday were damaged, art and bins of art had floated down the streets in currents of water, and we all surveyed the damage in disbelief. 

I have to say that my tent, and my neighbor’s tent, stood up to the weather admirably, with no damage (tap-cons in the expansion joints did the trick). We both chose not to hang our art until Saturday morning, thinking the storms would be over, which was a good call. However, with continuing storms, the show coordinators made the decision to call the show for Saturday, and resume on Sunday. Of course, many of the artists who had tents damaged simply packed up what they could salvage and left.  

Luckily, the weather did indeed calm down for Sunday, and the foot traffic was considerably impressive. I sold as much in one day as I had in two days at the 2019 show. My neighbor, an acrylic landscape painter, sold three or four large, framed originals. I walked around the show and noticed many artists were selling at a brisk pace, despite the chill still lingering in the air. The range of art, from iron work to jewelry to sculpture — all the artists I spoke with were doing well. Not one seller complained about slow sales due to the one-day event, but all of us expressed concern for the artists who had to leave due to the destruction of both their tents and art.  

I cannot accurately report on how set-up went because it was an unusual situation. The original plan of coming in at staggered times to allow everyone an easier load-in was a good one, but in the end, due to the weather issues, it was pretty much a free-for-all.  Load-out was extremely easy, as almost everyone broke down before bringing their vehicles in, and there is plenty of space down the street, with angled parking spaces. 

The volunteers were genuinely trying in every way possible to help the artists — I even saw a couple of volunteers helping with breaking down tents and giving shuttle services in golf carts. This festival has a long history in Daytona Beach and continues to be a favorite among the locals. As we all say, you can’t control the weather, but I know I still came out on top in sales, and many other artists did as well.  

I’m not sure if all the awards ($40,000 in awards and Patron Dollars) were given out due to, again, the circumstances. I did receive Patron Dollars myself and was happy to have the business. I have to say, communication is excellent from the show coordinators both before, during, and after the festival, but I think we were all a little exhausted after the festival ended. I did get a list of the winners, but due to software incompatibilities, was unable to open it.  

Would I do this festival again? Absolutely. It is a well-coordinated and curated show, benefits a great cause (The Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach), and attendance is usually phenomenal. 

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