Visiting craft and stitching shows can be a very enjoyable and informative day out. With a little thought and forward planning, it is also possible to achieve the most you possibly can from a visit to one of these events.
These shows are arranged by the host venue centre some considerable time before they take place and they are also well advertised, both in local craft centres and on the internet as well as in craft magazines. As several kinds of crafts are often represented at one show, a good way to make the most of your visit to any craft show or fair is to contact the Fairs Organiser at the exhibition centre the event is going to be held at, requesting a list of all the companies that will be participating, explaining that your main interest is in cross stitching and that you are endeavouring to ensure you do not miss anything to do with your hobby. You can also ask them if it is possible for them to send you a plan of the exhibition stands outlining which manufacturer will be where, together with an itinerary of any demonstrations that will be taking place as well as letting you know the time the doors to the venue open and the show commences.
As soon as you know where the fair is to be held and on what date, the next thing to sort out is transport. Is the venue near to a train or bus station if you are undecided about taking your car? Will you be going alone or do you have friends who are also interested in going with you? These shows are always very well attended so if you decide to use public transport it is worth checking to see if additional services are being run whilst the show is taking place. Drivers shouldn't worry though, there are usually plenty of parking spaces at these exhibition centres.
Events are usually held over three or four days and although it is possible to buy a ticket at the door, if you purchase your ticket(s) in advance you can sometimes save a couple of pounds, plus you will be able to start wandering from stand to stand the moment you enter the centre rather than waste precious time queuing to pay the entrance fee. Just make sure you allow plenty of time to travel to the show, park the car and get into the fair the minute it starts.
When you have the list from the host venue, a quick e-mail to the manufacturer of your favourite items asking them for details of any demonstrations they will be carrying out will be most helpful. Who knows, you might be lucky and receive a "money off coupon" just for attending the fair!
If you are attending the fair with friends who are also keen cross stitchers, you could really plan your day between you as to the number of stands you each visit, arranging to meet for the demonstrations. If you decide either of you doesn't wish to see a particular item being demonstrated, it allows more time to visit other exhibits. Along with the craft items, there will be plenty of coffee shops and maybe even an in-house bar to take a brief rest to catch your breath between visiting the different exhibits. Some venues even provide a kind of picnic area where you are able to enjoy your own packed lunch although most places would prefer you to use the facilities they provide!
Craft Fairs are super places for companies to launch new products, often at relatively low introductory fair prices, as well as other bits and bobs that will come in extremely handy for avid cross stitchers. There are occasionally special items that are only available at craft fairs so you could find yourself obtaining a really unusual cross stitch kit. What a treasure that would be when it is finished and framed and kept as a family heirloom!
Do remember to wear a comfortable pair of shoes as you will be amazed at the distances you are able to cover whilst you trot from one stand to another - there is nothing worse than wearing shoes that look very chic but absolutely kill your feet! Another important matter to plan is your budget for the day. There are so many tempting sights and lots of things to buy at these fairs and as they are usually held infrequently, it is quite easy to get carried away and want to purchase everything.
Having organised yourselves alone or with others, have a wonderful time!