Insider Guide to the International Folk Art Market

International Folk Art Market

A poster for the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, shows a woman wearing brightly colored beaded eyeglasses

Santa Fe’s International Folk Art Market is the biggest folk art festival in the world, but we’re afraid that simply saying that is not going to communicate just how big this market really is. Now in its 15th year, this annual Santa Fe event is a super festival: It’s massive, multi-day, and city-wide.


This year’s IFAM dates are:


  • Friday, July 13 Market Opening Party: 6:30 PM to 9 PM
  • Saturday, July 14 Early Bird: 7:30 AM to 10 AM. Regular Market: 10 AM to 5:30 PM
  • Sunday, July 15: 9 AM to 5 PM


Let’s start with the most important tip we can offer for getting the most out of the event.


Don’t Worry Too Much About Getting the Most Out of the Event

You don’t try to ride every single attraction at Disney World, and you’re not going to be able to visit every single vendor at the International Folk Art Market.


So our first tip is to pace yourself and plan ahead. It’s a good idea to set some goals based on your folk art interests before you set out each day.


The market draws artists from all around the world, so what are your priorities? Are you into Navajo pottery? Asian tapestries? African wood carving? What new discoveries sound most interesting?


Or perhaps you’re more interested in the humanitarian work that’s highlighted at the market. This year’s honorary chairman is Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus, who will lead the popular procession of artists Thursday evening, July 12 at the Santa Fe Plaza.


To get the best experience out of the market, you can’t be a completist. Rather, check the events listings and pick a few destinations each day. Decide in advance which artists and speakers you like and some you’d like to explore. Wherever you’re going, leave early so that you have time to make some discoveries along the way.


Set A Budget (and Stick to It)

The experience of wandering the International Folk Art Market is intoxicating. It’s a good idea to wait until the end of the day to make any major purchases. This way you’ll be making your decision after exploring everything you wanted to see.


Sellers sometimes lower their prices toward the end of the last days of the market, simply because it’s a lot easier for them to fly home without having to carry as much luggage as they brought on the trip here.


Tips on Getting Around

Just a few quick tips on getting around the festival:


  • Don’t drive. Take a bus or a ride-hailing service like Lyft or Uber. If you do drive, leave for the festival (and for home) two hours earlier than you think you should. The market draws artists from all around the world, and traffic, too, apparently.
  • Bring a backpack or at least a book bag. Carrying arms full of bags plus your water and sunscreen will get very tiring very quickly.
  • Once the layout of the market is finalized, maps are made available usually through the website and on the premises. Be sure to get one.
  • Build in some rest time on your itinerary. The market is as much a hiking trip as it is an art fair.


Buy Tickets in Advance

Headline events at the market are ticketed events. Advance purchase is strongly recommended. Tickets can be purchased online here.


Our Top Recommended Event

If you attend just one ticketed event, we recommend the Friday Night Opening Party on Museum Hill at 6:30 PM, July 13. This is always a magical evening.


Some Helpful Resources

We’ll close out with some helpful resources available on the International Folk Art Market website. It’s got everything you need to know about the event.


Market FAQs

Getting to the Market and Parking

2018 IFAM International Food Bazaar