Founding a fall festival: Tips from organizers who've been there, done that

By their very nature, fall festivals and craft shows are grassroots events.

A group of crafters might need an outlet to sell their handwork, so they hold a show to make a little spending cash. A nonprofit needs to supplement its budget - a craft show/fine-art show is the answer.

But after that first year, what gives a show staying power? How do you find vendors, then keep them coming back?

In the past five years, a half-dozen new fairs and festivals have launched in the tri-state area, and they continue to grow stronger each year. They are among 125 listings in today's annual Fall Festival Guide.

We asked founders of three of them - Deborah Lofton of Sunflower Stables Barn Sale; Hailey Johnston of Bird & Barn; and Robert McGavock of the Red Bank Artisans Sale - what worked, what didn't when they founded their events.