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My best show last year was $0 application fee, $1400 booth and had either a $5 or $7 gate fee (I can't remember offhand). The tendency here is to not charge application fees for commercial shows, although fine art shows or more non-profit shows will sometimes, as the  extra work involved isn't accounted for somewhere else in their budget. Almost all commercial organizers charge a nominal gate fee instead, typically with free re-entry for the duration, and coupons for cheaper tickets purchased in advance.  It does cut down on the tire kickers. Vendors are also typically offered a small number of complimentary tickets (2-4) to use in giveaways to their mailing lists, or social media. The organizers make some profit from booth fees but also get paid via gate admission, so there's some incentive there for them to work hard to get folks through the door.


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When it comes to booth fees and gate fees, the size and quality of the show make a big difference in whether or not they're worth it. I get that shows like One-Of-A-Kind, or the ACC show, or the Smithsonian are going to have high booth fees and a gate fee, and for shows of that size and quality it's not a deterrent. They'll have the attendance to make it worthwhile. But when the local art center does it, it's an issue.

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