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Posts Tagged ‘Sister Bay’

If you read yesterday’s post you know Husby and I endured a blown-away canopy followed by a beautiful, sunny autumn day of sales at the Sister Bay Fall Festival.  The thing that made me so nervous about applying for this show in the first place was the fact that it was a three-day show.  I’ve never done a show of that length before.  With one minus (blown-away tent) and one plus (lovely and lucrative day) everything about the show was even.  However, periodically throughout the day Husby was checking the weather report for the rest of the weekend.  It didn’t look good.

I spent the entire evening toiling over how I was going to manage the show with 20 mph winds and a 90% chance of rain with temperatures in the mid-40s.  At least I was satisfied with how we closed up shop on Friday evening, lowering the canopy and adding even more weights to keep it from flying away overnight. 

When I woke up Saturday morning I resumed my worrisome behavior, trying to decide if I should weather out the storm or shut down completely.  I weighed the pros and cons of sticking it out.  The cons won.

This is how it looked outside while I was pacing back and forth Saturday morning, trying to make one of the hardest decisions of my business life.

We rushed to the site of the show and packed up everything before the event was scheduled to begin.  (No, the canopy had not blown away this time, thank goodness!)  Before we made it back to the motel it started to rain.  And it rained for forty-eight hours straight with healthy winds coming off the lake.

I’ve always been kind of judgmental when it comes to people packing up and leaving a show before it’s scheduled to end.  I felt like a hypocrite and spent the rest of Saturday second-guessing my decision to leave early.  When it was still raining on Sunday I knew I’d made the right choice.  Not only would that much wind and rain have damaged my product, Husby and I would have been crabby and cold.  Thinking like a shopper I knew I’d never venture out in that kind of weather to wander around at an outdoor event.

While we were out at an antique/junk store on Sunday we happened to see our vendor neighbor.  I looked at my watch and saw the craft show was still, technically, in progress.  I teased her and asked why she wasn’t sitting out in the cold rain.  She said she wished she had done as I did and packed up Saturday morning before the rain started.  There were no shoppers and many of the vendors started tearing down on Saturday afternoon.

Long and short of it all, I worked one day of a three-day show.  I still feel a little guilty for begging out, but I’m also very glad my wares were safe and dry.  I’m very pleased with the money I earned on Friday, but disappointed that the weather didn’t cooperate in making what could have been the most lucrative show of my life.

To my fellow craft show vendors out there, I don’t recommend leaving a show early for reasons like poor attendance or low sales.  That’s the show to avoid next year.  If it’s a one-day show, stick it out to the end.  If it’s more than one day, and your product or your health might be jeopardized, pack up during the off hours of the show to avoid annoying shoppers and fellow vendors.

The decision to leave in the middle of this show was a difficult one indeed.  Now I’ll spend the next six months trying to decide if I’ll take a chance on it again next year.

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All right, so October isn’t exactly summer, but the Fall Festival in Sister Bay, WI (held Oct. 12-14) was my last outdoor show of the season.  I had high hopes, hearing from many it is the biggest festival on the peninsula.

Husby and I arrived in Door County on Thursday afternoon and went straight to the site of the craft/art vendor area to set up our canopy and a few props that needed assembly.  We figured getting a jump on the set-up would give us more time to prepare the displays the next morning before the show started.

After setting up the canopy and weighing it down with many weights on all four legs we set off to have a nice little supper of superb seafood chowder and breadsticks at the Cornerstone Pub.  Then we crawled into our cozy little motel bed for a good night’s sleep before the opening of what would be my biggest and best show ever.

The next day we arrived on site at 8:00 a.m., two hours before the show was to begin.  We were greeted by frantic vendor neighbors who were unable to set up their displays.  Why?  Because during the night the mighty wind blowing off of Green Bay took hold of our heavily-weighted canopy and positioned it in the middle of the road, after which someone had moved it into an open space two tents down from our assigned spot.  (How they moved it I’ll never know – there was about eighty pounds of weight on each of the four legs of the canopy.)  I’m grateful someone got it out of the road, but I was certainly surprised to see our canopy was the only one affected by the great winds of Lake Michigan.  Perhaps being from St. Paul, MN we were naive to the power of the autumn weather of Door County and misjudged how much weight was actually needed to keep the canopy in its spot.  Or maybe our assigned spot was really the Burmuda Triangle of Mill Street.

That ocean is Lake Michigan. That hurricane is the wind off the lake. That ship is my canopy. Burmuda Triangle I say!

With the help of our neighbors (craft show neighbors are usually awesome in their helpfulness to those in need ~ it’s a karma thing) we got the canopy back in its assigned spot and set everything else up for the day.

It was a beautiful autumn day.  Sales were tremendous.  Tune in tomorrow to find out what happens after our first very successful day of the Fall Festival.

A sunny street corner in Door County, WI

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