Fair organisers Clarion Events hope to attract roughly 150 dealers to exhibit in East London’s Excel Centre in what is to be a sister fair to the large triennial event in Birmingham’s NEC
Fair organiser Mary Claire Boyd of Clarion Events says that the new fair’s date and size will fill a void left by Birmingham’s National Fair, which was run by Clarion until 2012.
“We’ve been thinking about adding a new fair for some time,” Boyd said. “There used to be the National in this timeslot and comments from our AFE dealers showed that they were missing that.”
The fair features slightly different branding, launching under the name AFE London: Art Antiques Interiors Fair.
A previous AFE sister fair, staged in Earl’s Court, closed in the 2005 when it was under the direction of Centre Exhibitions. Clarion Events ‘postponed’ the AFE fair in Glasgow in the same year. Both had struggled to keep exhibitor numbers up.
But, Boyd says the AFE has strengthened over the past few years: “It’s become slightly better known. We’ve maintained constant exhibitors and growing visitor numbers.”
She adds that Excel was chosen to help attract a new crowd from an “untapped area of London as well as the surrounding Home Countries.”
The fair takes place from January 13-15 and applications for exhibitors are open.