After taking a gander at MSU Brick Breeden’s hectic schedule, MADE fair founder Carol Lynn Lapotka decided to add a Bozeman Spring MADE fair May 6-7 to jump-start the market season.
“When planning our events and selecting dates, we are often at the mercy of the facility’s fluctuating sports schedules,” she said. “We feel a spring show is perfectly timed to find something special for Mother’s Day or that recent graduate.”
The spring MADE fair, held at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, introduces a special Friday Night Preview from 7-9 p.m. for those wanting a more intimate shopping experience. Last fall’s MADE fair raised over $3,000 for Bozeman’s THRIVE – a support and mentoring program for children and families – via this $10 VIP pass. The fair continues to partner with a local organization to offer early access shopping, 9-10 a.m. Saturday morning ($5). Entry is free from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
The MADE fair is a modern handcrafted market featuring a curated collection of works by local and regional artists. The mission of handMADE Montana is to increase awareness of handmade goods as an alternative to mass-produced items and support local and regional small craft businesses by providing a place to sell their goods.
MADE fairs are already scheduled for the following communities: Missoula Summer fair, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 19 in Caras Park; Helena Holiday MADE fair, 7-9 p.m. Dec. 2 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Lewis and Clark Fairgounds; and Missoula Holiday fair, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Adams Center. A Bozeman Fall fair is also in the works, dates TBA. Most offer a VIP experience on Friday, and early-bird entry before the doors open for free admission on Saturday.
This year’s Helena Holiday MADE fair is now a one-day event with an evening preview the Friday before, and as always, the holiday show in Missoula is confined to one day due to potential scheduling conflicts with football playoff games.
After cancelling all of 2020 fairs due to the pandemic Lapotka was thrilled with 2021 attendance and sales. The year “will go down in the books as a year of growth, recovery, gratitude, and so much more,” she says.
Numbers tell the story: four events were successfully organized and presented by handMADE Montana, and 412 artists sold their wares at these events and the retail store in Polson, generating an estimated $1.6 million in revenue for local and regional artists. In addition, MADE fairs collected 2,283 pounds of donated food and raised $7,750 dollars for Thrive (Bozeman) and Jeannette Rankin Peace Center (Missoula) via the VIP passes.
“Our brick-and-mortar shop in Polson has been growing in popularity, and we are adding a dozen more artists to the mix for 2022 and offering a more comprehensive selection of goods to purchase both in-store and online,” promises Lapotka. “We love to provide opportunities for creatives, and we have gotten feedback that 2021 was a record-breaking year for most.”