Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Craft Shows Ain't For Sissies

You may think they are, but they're not. Try this, tough guy:

5:30am - 6:00, rise, shower, dress, and get some breakfast and coffee from the hotel lobby.

6:30 - Arrive at craft show venue. Temperature: 30 degrees. Search for craft show coordinator or helper, to locate booth space. No help to be found. They're probably all in the coffee shop.

7:10 - Begin polling other crafters around the venue what their booth numbers are. (One across and down from us is 65, but she says she can't find it, so she'll set up where she is. One up the way is 45.) By process of elimination, pick one that is close to our spot (41). Feet cold. Hands cold.

7:30-8:00 - Start unloading truck. Piling tables, plastic tubs, and pop up tent on the side of the street, so small women driving big trucks won't run over them. Mock small women in big trucks. Complain about the cold.

8:10-8:30 Set up pop up tent, three tables, and move same back out of the street. Crazy woman in an SUV is driving erratically down the street, but trucks and cars are blocking her way. She pulls onto the sidewalk. Hands cold, feet numb. Put it all back out in the street. Smooth wrinkles out of tableclothes, and start setting up displays.

8:45 - Move truck to parking lot, backing UP the street we just came down. Enduring pissy looks from other vendors. While Obbie is doing that, I start putting the jewelry up on the displays. He's a dear man and brings coffee back. I love him so.

9:00 - Everything is in place. Some vendors still have cars parked in the street. Candle lady next to us shows up, all pissed, with her hubby in tow. He's looking aggraved, and she's flailing around being late. Oh drama. Hands and feet still cold.

9:10 - The last of the display is up, and pictures are taken. We're ready to go. Too bad I can't feel my fingers or feet. No customers yet. So I hustle off to the Jiffy Johns because who knows if I'll get another chance. (Jiffy John time was interrupted by a man in the next pot talking on his cell phone. Who talks on a cell phone in a porta-pot? Jeez)

10:00-The big parade starts! WHOO!! It's all down on the main street (we're on Main Street, but the street the parade is on is more Main than this. Don't ask)

10:30 - 12:00 - Answer three thousand questions about the jewelry, about the geode slices, and the boxes with the agate lids. Convince a customer that my stuff is guaranteed, and if it breaks, she can call me, and I'll fix it for free. She buys the newest set I made. It looks very nice on her. She's so pleased, she takes off the jewelry she was wearing, and puts on the newly purchased set. Admires herself in the mirror and goes away happy. Love that. Obbie makes about 20 kid necklaces for his adoring fans. Each with sticky, goo fingers from eating various street fair foods. He breaks at noon and gets us chili dogs. We eat chili dogs, standing up, fast, so as not to look 'unprofessional' behind the booth. It's still chilly, and my damn feet are still cold. We've stood most of the morning.

1:00 - 4:00 Answer eighty seven hundred more questions about the jewelry and other booth stuff. Obbie makes twenty more kid necklaces, with help from various stage mothers, who can't imagine their little lambs actually knowing how to pick their own beads. More bracelets get sold, a couple agate boxes get sold. In the downtime between mobs, we sit and observe the local color. Lots of dogs, lots of bikers (not with dogs) and lots and lots of women in low cut jeans, most of whom shouldn't. Obbie went down the street into the main part of the fair. He comes back all breathless. "Oh you HAVE to go down there, it's NUTS!" So I do. And it is. I make it to the Knights of Columbus french fry stand, then come back to the safety of my booth. There are LOTS of folks out today. The people we've talked with (seems like most of the crowds) are polite, and happy. Which is a huge change from some shows we've done. We put a trick or treat pumpkin on the table, full of candy. Obbie made a sign "Take One" and 90 percent of the kids ask if they may have a piece, and ALL of them said thank you. Cool. We're still standing, and my feet haven't gotten warm yet.

5:00 - Okay. We're ready to be done now. The crowds are gone, and it's time to pack it up. Just a few stragglers are making their way up and down the street, but too late, too bad. We chat with the vendors on either side, comparing our successes. There is some grumbling, but it's not from us.

5:15 - The executive decision is made to start the process. I start putting away the jewelry, Obbie starts putting away the displays. Tableclothes folded and put into their tubs, tables come down, and the tent last. Obbie brings the car around, and we pack it up. Bid goodbye to the couple of vendors around us, and beat feet outta there. The town clock is chiming 6:00 as we pull out onto the main street. My feet are still cold.

6:20 - Back to the hotel. Collapse on the bed. We need a drink and begin discussing dinner options, but it's Homecoming and every restaurant locally is packed right now. We look in the phone book and find a place up the road. We'll go in a little while after we have a little nappie......zzzzzzzzz..........

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