Frequently Asked Questions

Who produces Custer Fair?
Custer Fair is produced solely by Piccolo Theatre, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization committed to providing shared experiences in the arts to strengthen community. We do our best to support local businesses and bring new business to the South Evanston area.

How do I get an application?
You can apply online at, or contact the office to have a paper copy sent to you by emailing, or calling 224-714-7085, Tuesday-Friday, 10a-4p.

In the interest of going "green", Custer Fair encourages you to apply online.

When can I apply to Custer Fair?
Applications are accepted beginning in September through June.

Do you provide tents, tables or chairs?
No, but tents, tables and chairs are available to rent from us. All rented items are delivered to your booth space; rented tents will be set up for you by the rental company. All rental orders require a separate $100 refundable security deposit check to be sent in with the application. We would only use your security deposit to replace vendor-damaged rentals, NOT acts of God and weather. Security deposit checks will be shredded after the fair if not needed. Rentals include: 8 foot table $25, 6 foot table $25, chair $10, and 10x10 tent $300.

Do tents have to be a certain color?
No, Custer Fair is an outdoor event and we enjoy color!

Do booths have back-space?
No, all supplies and materials must be stored in your booth space. We recommend storing extra supplies/materials under your display table.

If there isn't a vendor next to me, can I fill in the space?
No, there are some areas within the fair that are designated walk-ways and fire lanes. Please stay within your booth space.

Can I drive up to my space to unload?
Yes, you may drive up to your space to drop off your display and materials. Please exit, park your vehicle and return to the fair to set-up.

When can I set up?
Set-up times are staggered between Friday evening and Saturday morning to avoid congestion. You will be assigned a set-up time, which will be enclosed in your vendor packet.

When do I find out my booth number?
If you choose to apply online, you may select your booth on our fairground map. If you choose to apply via mail, your booth number, set-up time and entrance gate will be sent to you in your vendor packet.

When do I get my vendor packet?
All applications received and approved before April 15 will receive vendor packets via email or post the week of April 15-April 22. All applications received and approved after April 15 will be sent on a weekly basis.

Where can I park?
Fairground parking is available for $50 -- these are lots designated for Custer Fair vendor parking only. If you do not wish to purchase a parking pass, there is street parking available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Is there handicapped parking available?
Yes, there is designated handicapped parking available in City of Evanston parking lots. The two City Lots closest to the fair are located at: Hinman Ave./Kedzie St. and Sherman Ave./Lee St.

Do I have to stay to the end of the event?
Yes. The fair is open Saturday and Sunday 10am-7pm, with vendors on Chicago Ave. open until 9pm.

When can I tear down?
Designated staff will alert you to begin tearing down. Generally, tear-down begins between 7:00pm and 7:30pm. Vehicles may not enter the fairgrounds until 7:30pm.

When can I load-out?
Vendors on Main, Washington, and Custer should expect to bring cars on site for load-out beginning at 8pm. Vendors on Chicago Ave should expect to bring cars on site for load out beginning at 9:30pm. Your booth must be completely packed up and ready to load in order to have the vehicle enter the fairground.

I see that you have both arts & crafts applications and commercial applications -- are the two categories mixed together or in separate areas?

The categories are separated:

Arts & Crafts areas: Custer Ave. North, Custer Ave. South, Washington St. West
Commercial areas: Main St. West, Chicago Ave. North, Chicago Ave. South

There are some areas of the fair where you will find both types of booths together:
Main St. East, and Chicago Ave south of Washington St.

If my application is not accepted, do I get a refund?
If you apply before the deadline of May 15th and are not accepted, you will receive a refund, less the $10 screening fee.

If I can't make the event after being accepted, do I get a refund?
If you withdraw your application before the deadline of May 15th, you will receive a refund, less the $10 screening fee. If you withdraw your application after May 15th, you will not receive a refund.

If I apply after the deadline and am not accepted, do I get a refund?
You will receive a refund, less the $10 screening fee.