So Cory and I both exhibited at Crafty Feast in Columbia this past Saturday... and it was a slight disaster.
This was our first outdoor fair, and I knew weather could be in issue, but I wasn't prepared for the insanity we experienced. It rained in the early morning, then cleared up and got sunny. Just after we finished setting up, the sky turned purple, and it suddenly started pouring down rain like I have never seen before. You literally could not see across the street. I had brought plastic dropcloths to protect our stuff in the event of a shower, but I could barely let go of the tent to get them since the wind was whipping it so fiercely (even with the 200+ lbs. of weight we had tied to it). The fabric sides I had attached were ripped off in an instant, and the lovely tabletop display Cory made for me was smashed to the ground. It probably only rained like this for 15 minutes, but it felt like an hour. Poor Cory was soaked to the bone. Someone's tent blew right down the street, through a police barricade. And just like that, it cleared up and was sunny again. I guess they weren't kidding about the tornado watch, I expected to see a funnel any second.
The rest of the day was clear and sunny, though that wretched wind just wouldn't quit. We had to hold down our displays and the tent almost constantly. The winds were so forceful that several tents were destroyed... the wind just picked them right up and twisted the metal frames in half. Honestly, the whole thing was so ridiculous, it's laughable. At least we were there with friends, Matt and Jen Moreau of Fox to the Opera were our neighbors, and we made the best of it together.
I will say that the shoppers did come out in droves once the rain stopped (so at least it ended up being worth our trouble, financially). Although, most of them seemed to have stumbled on to the fair, everyone kept asking why were were all there, as there was no signage to promote the event.
We were able to protect our work for the most part, I only lost a few pieces to the wind. Here's a some photos I snapped after the morning hurricane... my table ended up looking a little forlorn as I wasn't able to put out my milk glass and a few other pieces, and the wind was to crazy to put the sides back on the tent. The large boards I made for my earrings and necklaces looked great, and stayed put for the most part, thanks to weights on the easels, lots of duct tape, and the occasional hand holding them down.
I was only able to dash out of the tent for about 10 minutes right at the end, but I did managed to grab a few goodies for myself: a Sea is for Caramel chocolate bar by Sweeteeth, a fantastic tote bag by Not Made in China, and a leopard spotted kitty by my beloved Three Bad Seeds.
So there you have it... I'm not sorry we went, it was certainly an experience I'll never forget. And while it was mostly stressful, we did have some fun. I will say that I will most likely not do an outdoor fair again, and we will NEVER hold Indie Craft Parade outside!