I know not every venue where craft shows are held has electricity available to their vendors. Outdoor shows seldom have the option to acquire electricity. If the venue does offer electricity, plan of having long, heavy duty electrical cords with a 3 prong plug.
Many indoor spaces have electricity available to the vendors; sometimes you may have to pay for it. My thought is…when it’s available; take it…even if you have to pay for it. Being able to light up your booth full of product is always a plus. Larger indoor events will often dim their lights for mood so you must have lighting in your own space. Light draws attention, plain and simple. Having your products lit up is like featuring them front and center. Many venues will put a limit on the amount of wattage you can use; usually 500 watts. I’ve never run over that with my lighting. There are several ways to light up your products and booth.
Ambient lighting: Think of it as mood lighting. It doesn’t really light up your product but it does create interest, theme and mood. Strings of Christmas lights, patio lights, candle light, electric candles, etc are ambient light. Consider hanging strands of lights from a tent framework (without the canopy) for soft lighting.
Spot lighting: This type focuses on a certain area. Those little clamp-on light fixtures are great for this. Swing arm lamps work well for this also. You can aim your light to focus on certain areas of your booth.
Track lighting: This is another way to get light where you want it. There are the type of tracks that have several (normally three) fixed lights that swivel as well as the type that you slide the lighting fixture into the track. The second one will give you several more options for style of lighting fixtures available. I really like the track lighting with the flexible arm; it lets you aim the light where ever you want it to go. These can be zip-tied to your tent framework (without the canopy), poles, etc. to get it over-head.
Flood lighting: These really light up your space but beware of the heat they produce. They also will use up your wattage allowance quickly.
Floor Lamps: I’ve seen vendors use floor lamps with several directional lighting fixtures on them at the front corners of their space, tables, etc. to light up displays of jewelry and such. These work well if you can’t get your lighting up high.
Light Bulbs: There are many types to choose from. Be aware that some lighting fixtures can only accept certain types of bulbs so check before purchasing. Screw in type bulbs are the most common – regular incandescent bulbs and those curly florescent ones. Personally, I stay away from regular florescent tube lighting…the colors of your product will not always look right. Quartz (halagen) lighting is very bright but gets hot, flood lights get hot as well. If you use this type of lighting just be sure it’s not next to anything made of fabric. What ever type you choose, just be sure to have a few spares with you incase you need to replace one.
What ever lighting you use in your booth, be aware of how it affects your customers. Don’t set up your lighting so that it points into customers’ faces or the aisles. Glaring light is distracting to customers. You don’t want to squint or have spots in their eyes…they can’t see your product that way. If possible place lights at the front of your space and point it to the sides or back…that’s where your product is anyway more than likely.