Friday, June 3, 2011

St. Charles At Fair

This past weekend I took part in my first ever art fair, the St. Charles Fine Art Show. I packed up all my pots on Thursday and headed down to St. Charles on Friday afternoon to set up my booth. Setup went smoothly, and the people running the fair were very nice and helpful.

Packing up the Pathfinder. I filled it top to bottom, front to back.

Saturday morning I was back in St. Charles by 7am to start unpacking my totes and getting everything set on the shelves. This went smoothly, too, and I was very happy with how the booth looked. Shoppers started wandering in by 9:30am.


The first piece I sold was a fishing lure. It was a huge relief to actually sell something, and it got me excited for the rest of the day. Unfortunately the weather was a bit overcast all morning, and by mid afternoon it started to rain. It never rained very hard, but it kept coming off and on for the rest of the day. While people did stay out and shop, the fair was never very busy. I did manage to sell some nice larger pieces, a teapot, and 10 more lures. A lot of people stopped in my booth to look around, so that was good. At least they saw something they liked well enough to take a closer look.

We had all been watching the weather for several days, and the forecast for Sunday kept getting worse and worse. Every 12 hours they would lower the expected high temperature and increase the chance of storms. On Thursday the weather reports were saying that Sunday was going to have a high of 91 degrees with some clouds. By Sunday morning it was down to 67 degrees, with an 85% chance of storms with 80mph wind gusts and 2 inch diameter hail.

I arrived in St. Charles Sunday morning to dark skies and cool temperatures. A huge storm was sitting over Iowa and western Illinois, and we were all watching the radar on our smart phones to see if it was going to hit us. At 10:45am it hit. Massive downpour. The parking lot where we were set up had a 1/2 inch of water on it. It would let up slightly every now and then, but not much. Around 11:30am the winds started up and I had to hold onto my canopy so that it wouldn't blow away, even with an extra set of weights on the legs. The manhole-size drain 20 feet away was overflowing with water, and my booth had a small stream running through it. Luckily the winds passed after 20-30 minutes, but not before they had ruined a few canopies.

By noon the fair organizers said we were free to pack up if we wanted. I checked the radar again and saw that only about 1/3 of the storm had passed so far, so I ate lunch and started packing, in the downpour. I head home at 2:15pm, soaked to the core, with no sales for the day.

On Monday I set up my canopy in the back yard to dry out.

After expenses, I still managed to make a little bit of money, so the fair wasn't a complete waste. I think some of the other artists weren't so lucky, though, and several of the 2D artists had their work ruined by the rain as it got inside of frames.

I would definitely consider doing the St. Charles Fine Art Fair again. It was very well organized and the people running it were very nice. They even fed us lunch! Up next is the Cambridge Pottery Festival on June 11 & 12 in Cambridge, Wisconsin. I hope we have better weather. Keep your fingers crossed!

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