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Craft Fairs and Open Studios

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for November, 2006

It's amazing how many different kinds of activities gather under this heading-and lots of them cost nothing. Is there a craft fair on your town common or in your neighborhood school? A local foods festival in an ethnic neighborhood? An open studio in a converted factory with lots of artist lofts? At this time of year, when people are shopping for the holidays, there are many to choose from.

Find them in community newspaper and website listings, church or synagogue newsletters, special interest publications, and fliers on bulletin boards, or listen to events listings on the radio. Large commercial fairs will even advertise.

Craft fairs and studio open houses give you have a chance to buy directly from an artist, craftsperson, or musician--and you're likely to get a much better deal than if it has to go through layers of wholesalers and retailers. This is also a good chance to buy seconds that might not make it to a gallery but are still nicer than anything in your house. You also have the very real option of bartering.

And even if you don't buy anything, you get to see a lot of really cool stuff, often including items that will become trendy a year or two down the road.

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