Mayday Underground Art+Craft Show at the Village Gate in Rochester, NY from 10 am - 4 pm.
I was honored to be at the very first Mayday show on May 1, 2010 on St. Paul St. We were all in this dusty basement of an empty warehouse on St. Paul Street. We were literally "underground!" The lighting was bad, the floors were dirty, and I LOVED IT! It had such character! The artists were from all over the spectrum of work. And man did people come out! I remember being amazed at how many showed up when the doors opened to get the free swag bags (a tradition that has continued).
The organizers, Amanda and Casey, moved up to more habitable surroundings at the Village Gate on Goodman St., but the variety of indie artisans has not changed. Each vendor is hand picked and consideration is made to not have too many jewelers, or paper crafts, or clothing, etc. They strike the perfect balance of what the shopper will see. This is no mistake because Amanda and Casey started this show because they had set up at way too many craft shows that didn't take any of this into consideration. This entrepreneurial spirit has allowed them to create a show that has "edge." This isn't the same stuff you will see at Corn Hill, or the Lilac Fest, or Clothesline.
One reason is the look. This is not "your grandma's craft show." Sticking google eyes on a rock is probably not going to get into this show (unless is was really rad). Second is the vendors themselves. Most of the indie artists at this show do not have the inventory or financial resources to justify the entrance fees into the larger art shows over the summer in Rochester. I know that I can't anyway. This means that all of what you see is handmade in small batches. If Mayday Underground was a restaurant, you could expect to walk in and order a plate of food that was local, fresh, and cooked with soul.
If you haven't been to Mayday before, I think you will be surprised, it is one of the best unknown art shows that this city has to offer. And I have heard on good authority that the next show will be a two-day bender on November 2 and 3, 2013. I better get back to the carving board to work on more inventory!