A trade show canopy is a big investment, and shoppers are best off doing their research before buying something that will not suit their needs in an ideal fashion.
Many art and craft shows are outside, even in the Fall and Winter months (depending upon the area). Any show canopy must be extremely versatile; it must:
- be a portable canopy,
- provide shade, and
- provide protection from wind and rain.
Be prepared to weigh down the canopy in case of high winds.
Canopies for Craft Fair Displays
When purchasing a canopy for the first time, choose 10′ x 10′ which is standard. Some well-established vendors routinely rent 10′ x 15′ or 10′ x 20′ booth spaces, but beginners should have 10′ x 10′.
Choose white roof and walls. Sellers of canopies offer many options, but colors detract from the items being sold. Any display can be set up inside of a white booth.
Do purchase all four sides and a roof covering. For overnight fairs, the fourth wall is a nice way to finish closing up the booth.
Some canopy tents have zippered sidewalls, others rely solely on bungee cords to hold the sides together. Spend extra for the zippers. Zippered sidewalls prevent sun from peeking through, making the booth hotter and fading artwork.
Shade Canopy / Sun Canopy / Rain Canopy
A peaked roof is absolutely necessary; a rounded roof is best.
- A rounded roof will both protect from sun but also will drain rain most efficiently.
- A canopy tent with a pointed roof in the middle may hold rain water around the edges of the roof.
- A canopy with a slanted roof works better than a pointed roof, but may hold water.
In any case, make sure the sun canopy has overhang or closures to prevent sun peeking through between the roof and sidewalls.
Some canopy manufacturers, such as TrimLine, offer shade awnings. These are a great idea because they keep the booth shady even when the sun is shining directly into the entrance.
Steel v. Aluminum
Steel is heavier and may seem like a bother, but a heavier and sturdier frame is a bonus in the wind. Flourish is one company that offers canopies with telescoping steel frames that snap together. These are easier to transport because they snap down and will fit in smaller storage spaces. Consider purchasing optional weights to hold the canopy in place.
EZ Up Canopy
EZ Up is a brand of trade show and outdoor canopy. Their biggest advantage is that they portable and relatively easy to set up. Two people can set one up quickly with no tools or labor. Their disadvantages include:
- more expensive than other perfectly good craft fair canopies, and
- less versatile because of the ugly tubing and hardware at the top.
A craftsperson needs to start with a neutral, open space in which to create a portable showroom.
EZ Ups are best for companies that frequent events and trade shows; EZ Up will print graphics and logos on the tent for customers.