Craft Fair Arrives

November 7, 2019

Craft Fair Arrives
As people drove home through Abingdon this evening, some of the vehicles, coming over Abingdon Bridge, brought objects for the craft fair.
Craft Fair Arrives
The three day Craft Fair is in the Abbey Buildings, and people were unloading their work in preparation
Craft Fair Arrives
There has been a small display in the Abingdon Free Space as a taster. This is the third year of the craft fair dedicated to local craft in its current format. There has been an autumn craft fair for much longer.

All the details are at

Filed under: Events

22 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Graham S  |  November 8, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Admission prices seem a little high for what is, after all, just an entrance to a shop.

  • 2. Steven  |  November 8, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Have to agree with Graham – I fancied visiting with the family but £20 entry for us all is too high

  • 3. Hester  |  November 8, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Remember that it is a charity fundraiser for the Abbey Buildings, in fact it is the biggest single event of the year for them. Also, tickets are valid for all 3 days.

  • 4. Daniel  |  November 8, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    I agree. Too expensive. There are many, many ‘activities’ vying for our attendance, our custom and the pounds in our pocket. £20, for what it is, is too much. But I wish it well.

  • 5. Bookman  |  November 8, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    Indeed, we were happy to support the Abbey Buildings and enjoyed the show. For adults it’s the same price as e.g. the Oxford Ceramics Fair and not unreasonable. It is however expensive for families as entry for kids is £4 while they are admitted free at OCF: this will certainly put off some. But the spaces in the venue are tight and awkward and not very child friendly…

  • 6. Bookman  |  November 8, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    To clarify: prices are £6/adult, £5/over 65 £4/child aged 8-18, free under 8

  • 7. Amanda Thomas  |  November 9, 2019 at 10:52 am

    I used to love the craft fair. It’s been running for many years and the admission price was nominal. We went a couple of years ago and couldn’t believe the admission price, so haven’t been back since we really didn’t feel it was value for money. I assume the Abbey Buildings used to make money before, so can’t quite understand the high admission price now. I imagine this also affects the stall holders, as there would be not so many people to sell to.

  • 8. Abingdon Mum  |  November 9, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    There is a psychological “barrier” when you have to pay more than £5. I wanted to go yesterday but only had a spare 30 minutes, thought I would pick up a couple of gifts but the entry was too much. Unable to return on the other days, so my custom was lost.

  • 9. Hester  |  November 9, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    Amanda – until 4-5 years ago the Craft Fair was run by a commercial event organiser who hired the Abbey Buildings for about 3 weeks and ran the event over two long weekends. The organisers had complete control over quality, entry costs etc, the Friends of Abingdon just got rent and yes, the money was very welcome. However, that company went out of business and another one who did it for one year decided it was not viable and pulled out. There was also a lot of negative feedback over the quality of the “crafts” – a lot of which were clearly mass-produced, not craft at all.
    So three years ago the Friends decided to take it back in-house, and to make sure that the products were high quality, made by genuine craftspeople – many local, some from further afield. Balancing the amounts charged to stall-holders and customers is a delicate decision – the current price is pitched in between the “cheap and cheerful” one-day events and the much more expensive highly commercial ones. We recognise that not everyone will think it is worth it, but many do, and we have to ensure that after covering the costs of putting it on, the contribution to the Buildings is worth the enormous amount of voluntary effort that goes in to it.

  • 10. rudi  |  November 9, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    as a kid the craft fair always made me feel that christmas was on it’s way.

  • 11. Daniel  |  November 9, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Every summer I work at a medieval joust. It is a ’small’ event, with a footfall of average 3000 a day (over 2 weekends). The variety of things to do there, for the whole day, for the whole of the family…all for twice the price of family entry to the craft fair, which, as pointed out, is comparable to charging entry to a large shop… I have no issue with the craft fair. I wish it well. I have no feelings others hand good and positive ones towards the Abbey buildings and the volunteers helping to preserve our heritage. But…as a family man often looking where to spend my hard earned disposable income, this event simply can’t be in the running … which is a shame.

    “Cheap and cheerful”. and “expensive commercial”; there’s also ‘value for money’.

    What do the stall holders think? How does it/entry compare to the other venues they surely attend? Out of interest?

  • 12. Iain  |  November 9, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Steve – stop talking rubbish – none of us are interested

    If you spent a bit less time criticising and a bit more time doing something positive then your reputation would be dramatically improved around town

  • 13. Hester  |  November 10, 2019 at 12:14 am

    The Friends of Abingdon have been going for 75 years, during which they have managed the restoration of derelict buildings which were about to be demolished and turned them into a venue which is used for multiple purposes by thousands of local people. Over those years there must have been a few hundred people involved in running the charity – and many hundreds of other volunteers. The Buildings raise enough money every year to cover their running costs, without any subsidies from public funds. Not bad for people who “haven’t a clue about anything”!

  • 14. Geoff Bailey  |  November 11, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Visited the Craft Fair which is a great setting and there were some very interesting stalls but surely it is the stallholders who should pay a small levy for their participation. Far more people would go it the entrance fee was scrapped. The Freinds of Abingdon should publish just how much they make from Entrance Fees.

  • 15. Red kite  |  November 11, 2019 at 10:13 am

    The stall holders do pay a fairly significant sum to attend this event, it is not a free event for them.

  • 16. Bookman  |  November 11, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Geoff: two minutes search reveals that the Friends’ accounts are readily available online,. Showing that the 2018 Craft Fair generated just under £18k:

  • 17. Bookman  |  November 11, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    After the deduction of expenses, the Craft Fair contributed £5.6k to Friends funds. No doubt Hester could clarify if necessary.

  • 18. hester  |  November 11, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks Bookman – it would be lovely if the first figure had been correct, but sadly there are a lot of costs involved (advertising, marquee, generator, security etc etc) – and there would be even more if a lot of the donkey-work wasn’t done by volunteers.

  • 19. hester  |  November 11, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    PS to clarify further, the £17.7k gross income came partly from stallholders and partly from entrance fees. As I said earlier getting the right balance between those two is quite complicated – a lot of factors come into play. To answer an earlier question, feedback from our stallholders suggests that they think we have it about right.

  • 20. Horsesmouth  |  November 11, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    Thats good then bookman, just think if you continue to collect that each year it will mean in 140 years time youll have paid off the consultants you employed to tell you what to do!
    Abingdon BID mk 2

  • 21. Horsesmouth  |  November 11, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Oops 14!

  • 22. I love Abingdon  |  November 11, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    What is your problem Horsesmouth? Do you really just not like seeing people grafting to do good things for the town? As hester said earlier, the Friends of Abingdon have run the Abbey Buildings for 75 years, turning them from derelict buildings about to be demoilshed into a place which is used by hundreds/thousands of local people every year. They dont ask for public funds for this, but cover annual running costs by running the Craft Fair and Beer Festival – both very popular events – and hiring out the buildings for plays, concerts, weddings etc. Now they want to raise funds to do some major work to secure the buildings for future generations – and to make them accessible to an even wider audience.
    But all you can do is point out that one of the many people involved was previously involved with a project which didnt succeed.To be honest, this just sounds like spiteful sour grapes. Bah humbug. My vote goes with the people who are trying to do positive things for the town.

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