If you’ve never been to an Agricultural Fair, or even a craft show, then you’re in for a treat! I speak from experience, having spent many years exhibiting crafts and jewellery at both craft shows and agricultural fairs all over Britain. They provide a unique opportunity to see and buy individual items not usually seen in the high street, often from the person who made them. And the quality of these items is usually very high as the vendors take a pride in the goods they offer.
Agricultural fairs and shows have a long history. Originally they were markets for farmers to bring and sell their animals, and they developed over the centuries into fairs with their own rights and charters. Entertainment and shopping opportunities are a feature of modern shows, and their appeal has broadened to provide a great day out for families. So what should you look out for when planning a day at an agricultural fair or craft show?
The first thing to note is where it’s being held. Usually, craft shows are held indoors, so there is no problem with the weather, but agricultural fairs are a different matter, since they are always held outside in a field or showground. This can lead to problems with the great British weather, so always check the weather forecast before you go! I have been to quite a few fairs where the ground became boggy and they had to use tractors to get cars and vans off the water-logged field! Either way, I would suggest taking suitable footwear such as wellies, and a raincoat and umbrella with you. On the other hand, of course, it could be sunny and hot, so take sun tan lotion and a picnic!
The jewellery vendors are normally either outside with their own tents or inside a craft tent or shopping mall. Either way, they are protected from the elements and more importantly, so is their stock!
So what would you expect to find? There is everything from children’s jewellery and funky fashion items, to individual designer items made in silver and gold and often set with gemstones and even diamonds. All silver and gold jewellery has to be hallmarked, and there should be an official notice to that effect placed somewhere on the stall. It is unlikely that you will come across designer watches, since most watches sold tend to be fashion watches, but it is likely that they will be sold at reasonable prices. As far as jewellery is concerned, you will find rings, silver necklaces, bracelets, charms for bracelets…look out for amber jewellery, birthstone jewellery, ethnic designs, and loose gemstones and crystals. Often the stallholder is very knowledgeable about their wares, and can tell you about the healing properties of the individual stones on sale. For example, agate is good for boosting self-confidence.
Whatever you choose, whether for yourself as a souvenir of a great day out, or a jewellery gift for someone else, it will be something to remember and enjoy. And of course, there is my website to look at as well!