About 14:30, we loaded the truck with the Booth gear. Included easy-erect First Up ® pavilion, inclement weather walls (Easy-Up ® so different company from the roof & frame which occasionally makes me wonder), two folding tables, two folding chairs, the tote crate with the art walls, PVC support tubes for the art walls, four weight bags and straps, four dog screw tie-downs, and two banners one for Studio 318 and one for Kuma's Playpen Ranch. Also one blue cube cooler. Set-up took about two hours including travel time to and from. We put the pavilion up and applied the tie-down straps using the dog screws, it being an outdoor show. Then the art walls which required fussing a bit with the tie-down straps, and lastly the inclement weather walls.
These are designed to zip together at the corners of the pavilion, only we couldn't do that because of the tie-down straps and the way we applied them, to the outside. I think I shall want to play with these a bit, see if there is a way to set them up so that they can zip down. However, I'm not majorly worried about that just now. Overall, this worked, even in the face of inclement weather that included rain and wind. The specific location assigned us at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is fairly sheltered from the wind, so that helped. And while it did rain, not so much to hazard the roof. More on that as the story progresses.
Last bit of setup before we left involved hanging the Kuma's Playpen banner outside of the west wall. Must be honest with myself, don't recall if we hung the Studio 318 banner or I waited to do that next morning. The two tables we set in a T shape, with a walking space between them, the theory being people could walk in and around the front table, looking at the artwork hanging or the jewelry set out, and then at the matted pieces. Or vice-versa. We briefly discussed dropping the pavilion roof to half-height (rain in the forecast) and opted not to do so, based on the site description above.
I left the house on or about 06:05, and arrived at Kanapaha thinking I'd be early and finding a line of vehicles extending out onto Archer Road. I expect these vehicles went as far as they could along the access road to the Gardens, which is an outer gate most likely closed at night. The wait here only lasted a couple minutes though, then we started moving up the access road. Inside gate opened on time for vendors at 07:00. I found parking right by the demarcation tape to the Festival zone, and loaded the hand-truck for the short walk over to our booth. I'm glad I did this rather than drive to the booth, because parking filled rapidly. The pavilion stood safely in the assigned space, no worries. Three trips with hand-truck brought in all art, including Herself's selection of jewelry and her display items.
Rolled up the outer walls and furled them like sails (a design feature) then commenced setup. Assuming (per above) that I hung the Studio 318 banner in the morning, that would be first because then I could put the one table against the back wall. Next I put the tote of matted work to the front edge of that table, the tote with framed work to the back edge, and started hanging framed pieces. I've been doing this part at Tioga Town Center Farmers & Craft Market since January (yes, for practice) and felt mild surprise that it took longer. Until I thought about it and realised I've been hanging six to eight pieces at Tioga, and hung 14 here. Two of the pieces are big, Naiad and Dryad in the Forest of Good and Evil which I brought because A) they are framed and it increased my stock of framed pieces by two and B) being big, they are attention getters. I anticipated they would not sell at this event what with price tags greater than or equal to $200.
With the framed pieces up I set to work putting Herself's selection of necklaces out, then our publicity info, and organised the last of it as the Festival crew announced over the loudspeakers that the Gates Are Open, meaning 09:00 arrived. Thus, a shade over an hour to set up the art and fine-tune the booth.
Started overcast, as predicted. However, the crowd started up pretty strong. We've attended this specific festival regularly over the years, though this is the first time I've been there this early. At a Garden Festival (I extrapolate in general and include, now, both mornings experience) the First Crowd is comprised entirely of Very Serious Gardeners, who all pretty much know where they are going looking for what. So, not so much traffic through our booth excepting the occasional spouse of a Gardener whilst waiting on their partner to make their selections from our neighboring vendor, a nurseryman from Alachua. Around 10:30 people started wandering through the other booths as well. By the time Herself arrived (after Morning Ranch Rounds and cleanup) we'd seen nearly a couple dozen people walk through Studio 318.
Around 13:00 the rain came. Not hard, fairly steady, some wind, and a bit of thunder. We were expecting it, what with smart phones and weather news apps and all. Most of the crowd thinned out, with a few die-hards wandering through under their umbrellas. Umbrellas? Thunder? Yes, and they made jokes about it too. Fortunately, no problems. We spent the time monitoring water run-off from the roof, and checking to see if any of the outer walls needed to be unfurled. The only wall that seemed to be getting any wet was the west one, the one with the big (76 x 183 cm / 32x72”) Kuma's Playpen Ranch banner which is weather-proof, and therefor stopped most of the wet. Nothing that I hung on that wall proved exposed to the relatively gentle rain, and the other two wall either protected by a neighboring booth setup or in the lee of the wind.
After the rain stopped, the crowd picked up again, and probably because they'd gone to the Garden's 'Summer House' to wait it out. This left only about an hour before closing though, and while we did see people wandering, none of the vendors were selling much. Closing time announced over the loudspeakers we started packing up. All the matted pieces went back into their tote and the lid snapped shut. The framed pieces came down off the walls into their tote. The two big pieces wrapped back into their transport padding. Herself put her necklaces and earrings back into their tote, and laid the display heads down no the table. We moved the tables and chairs in away from the walls, unfurled the walls and secured them, and then once again discussed dropping the pavilion to half-height since more foul weather was forecast. We opted to leave it up, again because we'd done moderately well through what wind we'd received and saw how the trees around us sheltered us from that wind.
Two hand-truck carries out to the car we could leave. Drove Herself over to the pickup truck, and then home. Made Evening Rounds with the Bros to feed horses and cows, back to the house to feed them. The Bros beat me to the House in fact, as the rest of the foul weather arrived. Herself made us Reuben Sandwiches (yes, plural) for lunch which were so big we each only ate one, so the remaining two sandwiches plus some other home additions provided dinner. Herself did grill the Reubens at home... yum. Then evening rounds for eggs and off to bed.
We knew the Ranch was on the edges of the storm that moved through, and the morning came in quietly. Up a bit later than previous day as Sunday morning gates open for vendors was 08:00 and for the public at 10:00. Despite a bit of a bobble got there with plenty of time, parked fairly close to the booth, and two carries in started setup. The pavilion did fine through the bad weather. Outer walls quite wet, and a small accumulation of water to the front of the roof which I dumped off after re-closing that zipper. Shook off all four walls, and used the spare towels added to the kit to dry the front wall as much as possible before furling that wall. Left the side walls down to continue drying while I started re-hanging the framed pieces. This went much faster than previously since I'd left the hangers in the art walls. Last minute setup right after Public Gate Open was furling the other three outer walls.
Bright and sunny day! At least as big a crowd, which all the veteran vendors say is a tad unusual with Saturday morning being the big crowd. I expect the weather had something to do with this. And again, the first in folk are Very Serious Gardeners. Still, overall we saw fewer people come through the art booth. Enough, and as with Saturday some of that included conversations with the viewers, others not so much. Things we noticed (and no surprise) the two photos we set up on stands in front of the matted bin were of two of our furry family: One of Four Kitteh of the Apocalypse starred in Can Haz Nap Nao, and Squrrl in his Saint Squrrl portrait. Over the entire weekend we witnessed time and again people walking by noticed and commented on these two, often pulling them in from across the 'road'. Naiad also worked as a draw, being on the wall just inside the door. I'd put Dryad in the Garden of Good and Evil further in, since it does feature a nude. And, hanging from the eve of the pavilion roof was our portrait of the Bros in the back of Forrest Nissan Pickup, with the word-balloon “Feed the Dogs” pointing to Squrrl who is looking at the viewer.
We got some feedback from one of the event organisers in the afternoon about our process of getting into the show; part of the reason for the delay I'd experienced hearing back from them involved being both a first-timer applicant, and that our booth, even featuring landscapes and nature photographs is a bit of an outlier amongst the vendors at a Garden Festival. Well, yes, and yet every year we've attended as public we've seen up to a dozen art booths by which I mean two-dimensional art, not garden art sculptural items. However, the feedback is greatly appreciated, as some of it verified things we'd been speculating about and reinforced some of the thoughts we'd already tossed back and forth on how to tune up the display for a similar event in future. More later.
At any rate, closing time came at 17:00 and we started packing up. We'd anticipated that site traffic would be absolutely bonkers, what with our experiences over the years doing Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, and indeed... bonkers. However, I did mention I parked fairly close, yes? Don't think I mentioned this whole booth is being planned with the thought of packing it inside Sydney Subaru Outback for those weekends I may be going off solo to some show. So we struck camp, and then started hand-truck carries to the Subaru and loading. Five or six trips got most of our gear into the car. This left a small amount to haul over to the truck on the hand-trucks (two collapsible styles) for Herself to drive home. With a bit of thought, even that would fit into or potentially onto (the roof rack) the Subaru.
Left site and home about 18:30 plus-minus since I stopped for petrol on the way home. Only unloaded minimal items from the Subaru (cooler, office box), made Evening Rounds with the Bros, and then ate dinner. Biggest difference between the two nights, I took a hot soaker bath before bed.
The Business Side:
Frankly, a bust. We didn't sell a single item.
We did, however, gain the experience and the knowledge that our plans for inclement weather work, the packing works, the setup works to support the weight, and the display looks good to start. We will want to start studying the tune-up for individual shows, something else that comes with experience. Additionally, today at Tioga we are supposed to deliver a print to someone who's been looking at this specific print, as a matted purchase, and might of bought it yesterday except... I'd put the only currently in inventory copy into one of the frames.
Mind you, it looks Really Good in that frame. I'll put it out today and put it back into a sleeve, as we promised to do that.
Also, I've a potential portrait session out of the weekend. The potential is fairly strong, as one of the two parties already tagged me via electronic communication.
If it were not a local show, meaning minimal petrol expense, no housing expenses since we slept at home, then I'd be disappointed. As is, I consider the booth fee to be 'tuition' of a sort for the process of learning, verifying setup, planning, appearance, and such. Yet it remains, we didn't sell a single item, and so we are down the booth fee for the weekend.
Excerpts from Texts:
Me: Here early enough is a line of vehicles out onto Archer Rd!
Herself: Oh my!! Everyone wanting to get in early to make sure things are okay after the evening storms
Me: Yup or just to finish setup.
Herself: So you have a 15-20 minute wait
Me: Looks like. Am in line. Thinking oh I did ask myself brink something to read? Line started moving 06:50 am now off Archer Rd in line
Me: Thx Pavilion in good shape. 2 carry in trips. Walls up now ready to set up.
Herself: How wet is the spot?
Me: Not. Damp. Setup takes longer hanging 14 frames. Finished 20 min after Open
Herself: At least you can leave the hooks in for tomorrows set up
Herself: Were there many people in the gate? Or were you all set up before you say the first of the lookers?
Me: Set up before lookers, some walking by not a lot. Crowd much bigger now
Herself: Last call! Getting ready to leave
Me: Can't think of anything
Herself: Make the calendar April 14-15, Santa Fe Art Show and the Santa Fe Zoo open house
Me: Booth OK walls & roof wet. Some water accumulation front. Front walls at least set up clean off & dry tomorrow. All walls shook off. Sides & back still down to dry. Setup mostly done. Fine tuning only.
Herself: Glad to here the little pavilion held up! I looked at that yesterday that we may have some water/wet in or in front of booth looking at the ground
Me: A bit, yes. Still can see the wet-dry demarcation line.
Herself: Main gate open Squirl felt it was an open invite for a face to face with the dogs across the street! He did come when called
Me: Good. Sorry. Left it open when I doubled back.
Me: Going to be a better day. The Morris Dancers are here!
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