In the "old days" our customers were people we had already met - either from the Renaissance Faire or our own shop. It was a chance to visit with them in a different setting, and a great place to debut new products or books.
Now with the internet, all of that has changed. Many times we find that we have wonderful relationships with people we've never met. That means that a faire like this, that draws from several states, gives us the opportunity to meet many friends for the first time. It is terrific and exhilarating!
But... even more fun is the regular "gang" in our tent. We've known Susanna Reppert from The Rosemary House almost from the very beginning of our herbal sojourn. Barb and Fred Will from Sugar Grove Herbs we met within a year or two after that, and more recently, Mike "the Emu oil guy" - sorry, that's all I've got :-) has become part of this merry band. We all set up in the back half of one of the circus tents, and the atmosphere is almost party-like. We take money for each other, give critiques, and just contribute to the general hilarity. For instance, Susanna held off bringing a product until Barb sold all of hers - bringing a rousing cheer whenever Barb sold one. None of us are really in competition with each other, so there is a real joint effort.
And then there is Fred, the "tent husband". Barb very generously offers Fred's help (and Fred is just as generous!) whenever there is something heavy or too-high to be moved. A true gentleman of the highest order, Fred has some very special products of his own, coopering buckets and creating intricate barn stars - a barn decoration unique to Somerset Co. PA, where they live. You can see some of them in the background of the picture of our booth.
Late in the day, I wandered past the Heirloom Seed Project area, and saw Fred among a group of men, sitting and talking about their various historical reproduction projects that consume them. The scene reminded me of the old thresherman's reunions that we would attend with our grandfather way back when.
We came home (with raindrops just beginning to hit the windshield - what timing!) feeling very satisfied and content. A spectacular couple of days, filled with laughter, good people, and lots of sharing. It is such a cool thing to hang with other people who share your dreams and visions. Add to that the sharing of ideas and ways of doing things that you hadn't thought about, and you have a rejuvenation of spirit.
In such a busy time of year for herbies, this was a dream weekend.
and just because I think I have the most specialest kid in the world, here's a pic of Molly (in green) and her friend Lanie goofing around before the prom on Saturday night.
Good kids, they had fun dancing the night away. They went in a "gang" and just had a ball.
She'd kill me if she knew this was here. Hahaha.