Arts Festival Sees Renewed Attendance And Sales

One of New England’s largest arts and crafts shows is wrapping up after the Memorial Day weekend. Organizers say, after a temporary dip in sales, craft lovers seem to spending again.

About 250 vendors at the Paradise City Arts Festival set up in converted barns at the three-county fairgrounds in Northampton.

Festival founder Linda Post says sales lagged about 15 percent after the recession started, but the numbers have bounced back. Some vendors are making smaller and cheaper items to appeal to more people. Joe Roessler, a furniture maker from Florence, says he’s sticking with hand-crafted beds and tables — though he says it’s still challenging to find high-end buyers.

“There’s so many options to purchase craft and support craft. It’s harder to get in front of that audience.”

Attendance at Paradise City is usually around 12 to 14,000 people. The numbers are not in yet for this year, but the weather was decent — which, organizers say, is usually the biggest factor in an art show’s success