On April 5th, The Christmas Trust published a thank you note on their Facebook page announcing discontinuation of the annual Christmas Fair.
Started in 1976, the fair had in the intervening period earned a reputation as being the must-attend fair of the season for three reasons:
- Many identified with its core purpose of fund raising for charity causes
- It had perfected the art of identifying fresh local talent
- The management was always keen to shift things around in order to provide an experience better than the last for both exhibitors and consumers
It is therefore not difficult to imagine the shock and disappointment that must have met the announcement.
But as the organizers point out, it was not a decision taken lightly. Due to security concerns by the public, weak infrastructure that didn’t support movement to and fro and a crowding of similar events, the attendee numbers dwindled (by as much as 50% between one year and the next) thus creating a situation where the expenditure far outweigh the income. The end result? An event that did not serve the purpose for which it was intended – fund raising.
The sector is no doubt feeling the pressure of losing such a critical event. But once we are done mourning and whining, it is imperative that both individual entrepreneur and community consider the opportunity this situation presents.
An opportunity to trade the cottage industry mentality for a corporate one.
An opportunity to seriously consider the idea of a lobby group.
An opportunity to begin an intense search for new uncontested markets rather than clamoring for the traditional. Imagine for a moment there were no more craft fairs, no more Banana Boxes and no more dubious eCommerce sites. What would your distribution strategy look like?
And even as you consider these possibilities, do not forget to raise your glass to The Christmas Trust because as both friend and foe will attest, running anything for 39 years is no mean feat.