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The Royal Bison is a small, tightly curated craft, art and design fair located in the heart of the Old Strathcona retail district in Edmonton, Alberta.
The fair has been blowin’ through town since 2007, has a ferocious following of supportive customers, and dare we say it gets better and better with age. The fair pops up for a weekend only twice a year with 70-ish top-notch makers, designers, illustrators and assorted hangers-on showing their work and they bring some of the most vivid design, art and music this city and region have to offer. It is vendor-run, aligned with the arts community, staunchly independent and it’s one hell of a good time.
Q: What's it cost to be a vendor?
A: It depends!
REGULAR VENDORS - you know who you are!
The above pricing is based on the amount of table space you need. Typically, most vendors will only receive 4 feet of space (we want to fit in as many vendors in to keep table costs as low as possible) but if you feel your product/display requires more, feel free to apply for more. Ten foot spaces are reserved for vendors with larger items or displays (think furniture or clothing). Table fee includes booth space, table (if you need one) and all the chairs you could need. Wall space and access to power is free, but available only by request and subject to availability.
NEW/EMERGING ARTISTS - SUBSIDY FUN TIMES!
We know what it's like to take a leap and try new things when we're new to something, and we love supporting rising new talent! We know from experience you need those precious $$$ to try things. If you're brand new to making/designing/illustrating (having only run your company/made your products for TWO YEARS OR LESS, or if you're still in design school) this is for you! We want to help young designers out with a few tables that are eligible for a 40% discount on your table fee. Just check the box in the application form to be considered for this subsidy!
What kind of vendors are we looking for?
It’s a good thing and a bad thing, but the fact is that we get way more applications than we have room for. It’s competitive to get in to the fair, but definitely not impossible. The Royal Bison is curated with an eye towards the unique and designed. We are a snapshot of what is going on in the indie art, design, music and related fields in Edmonton and beyond right at this moment. To be fair to everyone, applications are juried by an ever-changing group of five (or so) members of Edmonton’s creative community. We always make room for new people and new ideas. Read on and find out what we’re lookin’ for:
Local Vs. Out of Town
Much of our table space is dedicated to local vendors but out of town applications are welcome and are juried on design merit.
While we have a number of return vendors in every fair, we also have a whole whack of new folks. There have been a lot of fine individuals launch what became very successful art/craft endeavours at the Bison and we’d like to keep that going. Previous attendance at the Bison is no guarantee of repeat attendance. If you’ve vended before, we expect to see new and fresh items and obvious progression of work in your application.
The Genuinely Weird
Anybody who had been to a Bison knows we’re not your typical craft fair, and we’d like to keep it that way. If you’ve been to the Bison before, you know what we’re talking about. If not, we invite you to have a peek at our blog and our Instagram feed, which feature work of vendors from fairs past.
No Fan Art
There are so many illustrators out there making original work, and we’d like to feature them. If you’re painting Bill Murray or printing Spock, please apply elsewhere.
By far the most competitive category. If you’re making jewelry on the side (ie. it’s not your primary focus), and want to bring it to the Bison, we need to see it in your application (photos, please). And don’t be surprised if we accept you for your primary work, but ask you to leave the jewelry at home.
Regarding Cultural Appropriation
If you’re making First Nations (or First Nations-inspired) work, we hope you’re doing it because you have legitimate ties to First Nations culture. If you’re showing us a picture of a headdress or dreamcatcher, etc, please let us know your rationale for using this imagery.
(Generally) No Food
We are a community-based event focussed on art and design, not a larger, more general trade show. Note that we’re located next to a huge farmer’s market. Most likely your food/beverage item will be a better fit and find a more receptive audience in a more food-related market.
Design Vs. Handmade
As the craft and design movement has evolved, so has the Royal Bison. We celebrate design work in many forms and through many processes – if your items are designed by you in the Edmonton region, but manufactured elsewhere and/or by someone else, we are proud to show your work at the fair.