This past Saturday we spent as vendors at Colonial Day in East Berlin.
As always, vending at a show is interesting.
To begin with, we needed to be costumed. Knowing about this show since May, you'd really think that we could have had that all worked out by now, but no. We procrastinated until last week. We decided to try the costume shop at Millersville University - where they have 11,000 costumes. We went to check it out. Well... the admissions office didn't seem to know it existed until we googled it on their computer. We had to ring a doorbell to enter the building (??? at a college ???), and then the 7 or 8 people working there were WAY too busy talking to offer us any assistance. We left - but not before Molly got to try on some of the hats. She really wanted a hoop skirt. Costumes rent for about $50/week, for those who don't mind wading through thousands of costumes on racks that are out of order - without any help, of course. If I seem a tad miffed, it is because I am.
We just got out some old ren faire stuff, made a couple of aprons, and pulled it off.
The morning of the show, we woke (at 4) to some very thick fog. In fact, a few miles out we missed a turn, but realized it quickly. The trip there was a little frightening, and daybreak didn't change it much. The fog hung around until at least 9.
Although we got there a full hour before the start of the show, the streets were already filled with shoppers. That was a little weird.
We got ourselves set up, and met our neighbors - a wood-carver, and a lady that painted pots. Both very nice, btw.
The first half of the day, sales were decent and we were approached by several other festival organizers and some wholesale acct. possibilities.
By noon, the crowd started to dwindle, and it got pretty dull.
We had forgotten to bring anything to sit on, and somehow I managed to fall on some loose stones behind the booth. Every joint in my body started to stiffen up painfully, but eventually one of the organizers found us a couple of chairs (bless her!).
This festival is juried. In the last few years, the whole town has understandably started to join in the effort. But that means that there is no real meaning to the juried portion of the show. Right outside of the bounds of the juried section, a man sat on his porch selling GREEN gourds that he'd cut holes in for birdhouses. Those will be rotten in a week! There were yardsales and white tents throughout the whole town. It diluted the festival for us.
Besides that, I've got a theory about arts and crafts festivals in our area... 30 years ago, there was ONE really great show held at F&M college each spring. It was wonderful, with real art, and fabulously unique crafts. I used to take off work to attend it. Since then, there have gotten to be so many of these things - most include MLM companies like Avon and Home Interiors, etc., that on any given weekend, one could find about 20 shows. Instead of paying a few bucks to set up, it now costs in the hundreds - but the return is much less. Maybe its time to do something different.