Thursday, September 1, 2011

Festival Follies

Anyone who takes their creations to festivals knows it is a huge learning experience.  One of the best parts about taking your creations to a festival is the feed back you receive from those who stop by your booth.  Positive or negative reactions let's you know if you are on the track for taking your business where you want it to go.

Getting to the festival is a learning experience in it's self.  From the vehicle to arrive in, to the packing of your creations and the displays you plan to use. Some items pack better than others.  Recently my sister Lisa of Creative Kitty Crochet and I attended a festival.  When packing up for the day I envied the ease her crocheted items packed.  Her displays were much simpler and required less space.  Displays are important to show your creations.  The smaller the item you must display the more important it is to make the item seen.  With all this in mind there is one thing I forgot to take in account.  How many trips will I have to make to the car to get everything  to my booth.  This also became a big issue when a problem came into play when getting home after our first day at the festival.  Sit back, enjoy and I hope you learn from this experience.  I should say here that I am a glitch queen.  Murphy's Law seems to follow me.  So be prepared to laugh but more important learn.  I am happy to share this with you in the hopes I save someone else from the same fate.

Day one.  The weather was perfect.  This is probably the one saving grace and allowed us to roll with the punches.  My sister arrives at my house and we begin packing my Durango, the only vehicle we have that can hold all of our items,  the six foot table and allow us both to ride in the same vehicle.  We also take a cooler so to stay away from having to buy fair foods.  We arrive and find our check in point.  They do not have us on the list she has in her hand.  I had called prior in the week to verify because I had not received any confirmation from them, although I had checked with the bank to make sure the check had been cashed.  A minor over sight,  our number had been skipped over when typing the list.  I want to say that the Lions Club in Hagerstown did a fantastic job with this festival and was always available to handle situations that came along during the entire festival.  We were led to our spot.  GREAT spot. under a nice shade tree.  Across from us the buildings were spaced so we had a nice breeze.  We began to open the hatch to start unload and something hit the ground and a bunch of little faces began to roll in different directions. My Attitude charms were on the loose!  We gathered them up.  At least they weren't breakable.  Note to self, get a locking box for the roaming Attitude charms.  Next we start to set up the canopy and I cut my finger.  Luckily I had paper towel but not bandaids.  Note two, bring a first aid kit!   Set up finished we are sitting there enjoying the weather when the neighboring concessions booth arrives and begins trying to park.  A husband & wife team who worked wonderfully well together.  We asked if they would like us to move.  "No we are okay."  We watched them struggle but they still didn't want us to move.  We got up & moved a few feet for them & they got it first try.  We had a wonderful time with them.  It is good to be nice to your neighbors.  If you ever come across an Emergency Concessions at a festival ask them if they have been to Hagerstown, Indiana Jubilee days.  If they have let them know you have heard about how great they are.

It was a nice day.  Now we began the pack up.  Good grief, four trips later we are finally gathering the last things.  Tired and hungry we stopped to get something to eat.  We pulled out of the parking lot and was heading home on our last 20 minutes of our journey.  That is when I get hit with Murphy's Law big time.  Keep in mind that I had said this was the only vehicle we have that will hold all the things we have with us.  Suddenly Lisa asks if my car is on fire?  As "I don't think so" left my mouth smoke begins to roll from under the car on the drivers side by the front tire.  Quickly I pull over and jump out of the car.  It is popping and hissing.  I am waiting for the thing to burst into flames.  I pull out my cell phone and call my husband who says he will come get us.  His vehicle is a Yaris!  I am thinking what are we going to do with all this stuff we are  suppose to set up again the next day at the festival.  I tell him to go get my Dad's van.  Thank God for dads.  So I call dad and let him know what is going on and that my husband will be coming to get his van.  So my sister and I wait and listen to the popping and hissing.  I kept imagining the thing going up in flames with all of our hard work in the back.  Finally the van comes rolling up.  I am expecting my husband but I wasn't expecting to see my dad too.  Lisa & I just look at each other.  OHHH fun  What the heck are we going to do with all this stuff and still fit the four of us in for the ride back?  The guys begin pulling stuff out and TOSSING it into the van.  At this point I have come to a HUGE understanding how important it is to keep your packing to a minimum and still protect your creations.  We arrive back at my Dad's house and leave the van parked there.  We pulled out the cooler & put it in my husbands car and head home.  Dad's van uses more gas and we needed to go by his house to get to the festival any way.  Also I would be able to bring him my car to use while I had the van.  Sleep!  I need sleep.

Up early for day two we packed the cooler and headed to Dad's to pick up the van.  We ran in got the keys and spoke briefly to our parents.  We were in a rush because we knew the town we were going to would be closing down some roads for the parade that day.  We jump in the van and take off.  About 15 minutes down the road we realize the cooler is still in the back of my car.  Oh well!  Quick trip through a drive thru and the "oh darn we will just have to eat festival food" we rolled with the punch and headed on to the festival.

Enjoying the weather we were chatting away when we realized we were unsure where we were.  "UGH! I missed the turn!"  After back tracking for like 15 minutes we finally made it to the town and met up with road blocks.  There is two real problems with this.  First I do not know this town and the even bigger problem is that I have LITTLE sense of direction.  At one point I had NO idea which direction our booth set up was.  My sister talked me through it and we lucked into a parking place not too far from our booth.  Good thing because again it takes 4 trips to and fro to get all the stuff to the destination.  One trip to the car resulted in the car alarm going off and several tries to disengage it.  I finally had to get in and start the stupid thing to get it to shut up.  I finally get started on my set up.  Remember what I said about packing your creations to protect them?  The Toss fest my husband and Dad had  the night before when transferring things from the sizzling Durango to the van meant I got to untangling about 80 pairs of earrings so I could hang them for display.  I kept telling myself to be grateful I still had them and that they didn't burst into flames. lol  If anyone has a great easy travel earring display I would love to hear about it.

The weather was beautiful and the people fun.  The rest of the day was very pleasant.

If I have any words of wisdom it is no matter how well you plan something is bound to go wrong.  When things go wrong ABANDON SHIP! LOL  No only abandon ship if it is about to catch on fire!  Try to find a way to laugh at the bad and enjoy the experience the good and the bad.

I will be attending another festival soon and I am reworking my packing to protect my creation and try and reduce the amount I need to take along.  My loving husband has also helped by buying a cart to help transport things.

Please feel free to jump in and give advice on craft shows and festivals.  It would be greatly appreciated.

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