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Clay Owen Studios

Center for lost art forms!


Winds, Rain, Sweat, and Tears

Posted on May 21, 2018 at 1:15 AM

Sometimes as an art vendor you go behind your tent and you cry a little... sometimes you cry a lot... and sometimes you sleep under your table while your exhausted boyfriend takes the first shift. If you have ever run a craft booth you know that nothing fits back in the car the way it came out... its almost as if the stuff expanded and your car shrunk. I always have to laugh as I see vendor with a car full of stuff and all these bins on the ground still just starring at their car like... " What happened here?". I have been there, done that and will probably have to do it many times again. Once the items are packed from the garage of your house to your trunk there is that feeling like you can rest for a minute. Which lasts actually until the car pulls up to the fair grounds and you sit in your car for a minute hoping that wild knomes will jump out and put up your tent for you. Then there is always that one thing your forgot.. it could be string, it could be scissors, it could be tape.... but there is always that one thing. This weekend at the Mermaid Festival had to top my charts of ultimate worse fair scenarios. Gail force winds were blowing small icy drops of rain into my eyes and face. I was trying to catch my breath as another wind swooped down from the mountains and picked up my tent and slammed it down. I heard a " MOTHERF***R" screamed from next door immediately followed by the sound of items crashing to the ground. This persons tent next to me had literally been half on top of mine, legs up for almost an hour but I was too scared to go over and move it, they had not yet arrived. I didn't want to make matters worse. When they did it arrive it was not the best, they ended up just packing and goin home. Two of the legs were snapped off the tent, product was laying soaked on the wet pavement, and you know the worst part? The embarrassment as people walk by and either stared or asked if they wanted help. I don't know about them, it is super kind for folks to ask to help, but sometimes you just want to be invisible while you bend down to collect your items like a beach comber. Needless to say sometimes running the fairs can be rough. However seeing the same old vendors is pretty cool. It's almost like seeing extended family and we get to ask " How was your year? and What have you been up to?". Some vendors are friendly, some rivals, but its all in good sport. If we didn't support each other we would not last long. It takes a village, a group of people willing to share monitary change, scissors, tape, and the occasional " It's all going to be okay". Doing the fairs is an adventure. From road snacks to tents breaking. Its so much work but it pays off to see the regulars who buy your items come back every year. Each year their children getting alittle taller. I have done craft fairs for the past eight years. The best ones are in Girdwood. I think that people who support the arts know how much work goes into products and do not argue too much about the price. When I do a fair that has alot of commercail items its alot harder to sell my work. Items that are made by hand are way more expensive then the $5 figurine that has made in china sanded off the bottom. Be careful what you buy and most of all be respectful of who you are buying it from.

We do make alot of memroies at the fairs... like that one time I bought a bicycle at a fair thinking it would fit in the back of the car with all the other stuff... boy was my boyfriend mad at me. The guy had a first series Schwinn bike that was red, new street tires, and a basket on the front with a for sale sign. To this day I hear about that bike. The guy rode past and my boyfriend just looked at me and said " Don't you dare...." haha, that made it even more tempting. Well his mistake was that he walked away. I told myself " okay if he rides back around it is just simply a sign" Well... he rode back around HA! I hide the bike in the back of the tent not wanting to fess up until after the fair was over. Well the end of the fair comes and the boyfriend goes behind the tent. I hear a " Babe.... I know this isnt the bike I told you not to purchase becasue we dont have room". I said " Well we sold alot it will definetly fit....." Well guess what... it didn't fit. In fact he had to find some rope from a neighbor and tie it to the roof in the rain. And as the rain is pouring down and he is muttering under his breath I'm just standing there thinking this poor guy didn't know what he signed up for! lol.

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1 Comment

Reply maureen
5:34 AM on November 5, 2018 
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