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shawnhar

Do show in pouring rain or bail?

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Soaking heavy rain all day, and the day before and the day after.... Would you go to a small show at a park, knowing you were going to load in, in the rain, then sit in the rain all day, and load out in the rain?

Kinda thinking of just calling a loss on the $45 booth fee.

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I hate to ever bail on a show, but that does sound pretty miserable. If there's any chance it'll just be alight drizzle, I'd do the show. If it's going to pour, I'd bail. Is the show on grass? It may be super saturated and spongy and nobody wants to walk around and shop in that. Maybe give the show organizer a call and get their thoughts on the situation.

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Unless the show organizer cancels the show, do it. It’s the professional thing to do. I agree with Neil’s idea to call them and see what they’re thinking. 

Besides, there will be plenty of times when heavy rain sneaks up on you. You need to learn what to do in those situations. It’s good experience. 

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Yea it's on the grass. just checked and forecast has improved somewhat now, with the bulk of the rain Sat night and into Sun, but still 60% the day of with a chance of rain and thunderstorms.

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I have never canceled a show for weather. In 45 years and I have done some heavy weather shows.The 45$ show part seems like a pretty small show.Do you plan on returning next year?

I have seen a show cancel for one day or 1/2 a day due to wether.Rain is no fun but its not a show stopper-snow is worse. as is 35 knot winds

In the pacific northwest rain is no big deal, people turn out in it. In Arizona they run from two drops of rain like Godzilla is coming bdown the street. It depends where in the country you are as to will folks turn out.

Its professional to show up and suffer and as Mea says you need to learn how to cope with it.

Edited by Mark C.

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i am facing that same storm.   i keep looking at the national radar and see the possibility that the northern section will pass to my north and the southern section will pass to the south.   i can hope.

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Here is an exert from my FB page.  (some people here can't see links to my FB page even though it's public)

" Well have to thank the die hard Canton MS flea market shoppers. Can't say the day was a complete "wash". Have to appreciate the shoppers as they make the lonely trek to Dirt Roads, walking past mostly empty vendor spaces. A customer said people in Ridgeland were taking cover (tornado warning) in stair wells. And here we all are ..... in a tent. "

(TG pottery is water proof.  I heard all the products in a bath bomb booth literally exploded and that a mixed media art work booth where every  piece of art came unglued and ran down the frames.  We emptied the pottery of water 3 or 4 times.  Anything within 4 feet of an opening got drenched.   We had stationed most of the jewelry in dry areas and only had a problem with 3 racks).

You see that space in front  of my both where those people are standing ... that is like 20 or so spots where vendors didn't show up.  Every space in this area is always filled.   More than half the vendors didn't come or packed up early.

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Edited by DirtRoads

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A completely miserable day.  My sales were off 75%.  But some customers did come and buy.  My break even point on this show is about $5K.    Would have been $2k if I had cancelled without the labor of set up/sales/beak down.   (doesn't count my opportunity costs where I could have stayed home and made more product)   I did hit the BEP (barely) but if I had it to do over I wouldn't go back.  The show was today and I unloaded on Monday.   After unloading everything, it seemed pointless to just pack up.   I've done this show for 8 years now.    There are around 1000 vendors here.    I did get quite a few new customers that say they will definitely add us to their agenda on future shows.   Before today, so many vendors they didn't see us, even though we are front row on the major Hwy through the area.   So that is one positive thing.

But it was a miserable day for me.  Would NOT do it again.  Someone asked me "Sharon Grimes what are you doing here in this weather?"  And I said "trying to turn a nickel into a dollar and you're here for ....?" But not enough dollars for me to do it again ever.  I will rethink rainy forecasts from now on.  Never experienced anything like it.  We all had on light rain gear and boots but still got soaked.  Needed professional rain gear here.

Shawn:  The answer I give to your question:  "NO NO NO and NEVER AGAIN".    I have never cancelled a show for weather before.  But  I saw several tents blow away today.  My tent is put up by a professional tent company and stayed in tact but when you hear the tornado sirens and all the cell phone warnings going off, a tent is no place to be.    Usually I'm mostly positive.  This actually happened today.  Maybe I'll have a change of mind in a few days.   But this was almost a traumatic experience for me.  Worrying and being cold and wet.  

 

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Edited by DirtRoads

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but when you hear the tornado sirens and all the cell phone warnings going off, a tent is no place to be.  

 

Ok torando warnings are not for tents as she says. This one was best left staying home. In can see the dilemma after unloading on Monday and loosing 2k to go home.

But now you know the limits

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It has been raining here for a couple of weeks,  two sump pumps running when we got 6 inches of rain in a couple of hours.   We were taking a car that is for sale to a car show Saturday,  it is suppose to cold and rainy.   It is miserable to be at a car show in this kind of weather,  you can't even set up a small tent at this show.  To bad this would have been the perfect location to find the right person for this car.    Denice

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@DirtRoadsDadgum Sharon. I was there and looked for you.  Where were you?

We parked at the Methodist church and walked to the square where everyone, I thought, was. I saw Hinkle Creek Pottery in the parking area around the square. We got there at 7:30 and stayed till 9:30 - too much rain and wind. And yes, saw a couple of tents try to take flight, but it was 60 mph gusts! There were some customers there on a mission as there hands were full of bags. We had ponchos on and our pants legs and shoes were soaked. We did a lot of standing under store front awnings. Too much rain. Saw a river of muddy water flowing from the square down steps and into the flooded streets. 

I hate I missed you. 

Edited by dhPotter

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I think that as self employed people, we sometimes have to ask ourselves "would this course of action be acceptable in a more conventional job where someone else was paying me?"

If it's a matter of "I kind of don't want to do this because it's cold and wet," well,  the saying goes that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. Dress properly for the weather, bring a thermos and make sure you have some kind of closed cell foam mat to stand on so you're insulated from the cold ground.  And tent weights. Lots of tent weights. Your sales might not be stellar, but not showIng up guarantees a total loss. There are always some die-hards that find walking in the rain romantic. Perhaps they can be convinced that a hot cup of cocoa in a new mug would be a perfect way to wrap up the afternoon.

If it's a safety issue like Sharon is describing (tornadoes are a deal breaker), I think that no job, self made or otherwise is worth injuring yourself over. I can't recoup a $2000 booth loss if I'm injured or dead. You'd be within your rights to walk off an unsafe job site if someone else was writing your check.

 

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13 hours ago, dhPotter said:

@DirtRoadsDadgum Sharon. I was there and looked for you.  Where were you?

We parked at the Methodist church and walked to the square where everyone, I thought, was. I saw Hinkle Creek Pottery in the parking area around the square. We got there at 7:30 and stayed till 9:30 - too much rain and wind. And yes, saw a couple of tents try to take flight, but it was 60 mph gusts! There were some customers there on a mission as there hands were full of bags. We had ponchos on and our pants legs and shoes were soaked. We did a lot of standing under store front awnings. Too much rain. Saw a river of muddy water flowing from the square down steps and into the flooded streets. 

I hate I missed you. 

Awww.  I'm at 424 Peace Street (Hwy16).  Right across from Canton City Hall.   I'm the first booth if you take Hwy 16 West going into Canton.

Here's my cell phone.  601-955-9150 and my brother's cell phone 601-955-9319.  If anyone ever comes to that event give us a call if you can't find the booth.   And if anyone ever wants to set up here, I'm on one of the committees and can direct you to a good spot.  

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15 hours ago, GEP said:

A tornado warning is a whole different ballgame. This event should have shut itself down.

^This.  The weather was expected to be scattered heavy rainfall, like 40 - 75% chance in hourly forecast, with 75% at 11:00.    Tornadoes were not mentioned in the forecast.  No watch when I got there at 5:30 that morning (with 8 customers waiting for the tent to open).     The tornado "warning" was around 9:45.    I'm not 100% positive it was a real tornado warning for the City of Canton but like @dhPotter said 60 mile hour winds were blowing tents away.    Cell phones that had service were all going off.    I heard some sirens.   Someone said it was a police car going up the street was announcing over a mega phone.   I didn't hear this.  The rain was so heavy you could not really hear.  A man came in our booth and said "I thought you all should know we are under a tornado warning."  The woman chimed her sister said "People in Ridgeland (about 12 miles away) are taking cover in a stair well."   I see the 2 tents blow away.   A large blue tarp up the road broke off of a tent.   I  said to customers "we can go in side the parish center or get on the porch. (like really ...  get on the porch ....)  Two went to the porch.   No one left the tent, I guess because of the pouring rain.  We had about 12 hovering on the back side of the tent (like that's the safe space in a tent .....)I tell my 2 employees we need to leave.  By that time it was over.   I never heard one word from the City of Canton.  I'm right across from City Hall .... like one space down.  The Director of my area was  NEVER told to shut down. 

There should have been a plan in place.      My thinking wasn't fast either.  I had literally 2 minutes from when I heard "tornado" had it been one, when it was at it's worse.   But someone knew that front was approaching and should have told people to take cover and closed the event.  My cell phone wasn't getting service so I couldn't see it.

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Drizzle is not always a big deal. You won't get the numbers of people you usually do, but those that you do get are buyers. I've had decent shows in drizzle. Heavy rain and winds are a different story. But a 60% chance of rain is no reason to bail. Severe weather warnings, thunderstorm warnings, and high wind warnings are things to keep an eye on, though. I would still set up, but I might do a lighter display than usual- fewer pots that can quickly be packed up if the weather does turn bad. The main thing is to be prepared, and have your own plan on how to deal with your stuff in any weather situation. Too many artists show up to shows only prepared for good weather. When things start crashing and blowing around, customers can't enjoy themselves, and sales come to a halt, even if your booth is fine.

Show organizers should also have a plan in place for bad weather, and should be communicating with the artists as bad weather approaches. They should have designated tornado shelters, and a system in place to inform artists where those shelters are. Tornados happen without much warning. I did a show in Minnesota a couple of years ago, and the sheriff called to show organizer to let her know that a tornado had been spotted 5 miles west of the show. We set all our pots on the grass and ran inside. Good times.

In my experience, show organizers are less willing to shut down during bad weather than the artists are. They often wait too long to call it, IMO. I just do what I need to do to keep my work and my body safe. That never means taking down my booth and packing up the car, unless the show organizers have said it's okay to do so. I have a good canopy, so I'm not very worried about it blowing away, but I am concerned about pots getting blown over. Sometimes I'll just zip down the side walls to keep the weather out, leaving the front flap down but unzipped so customers can still come in. Usually I have my chair and wrapping station in back under an awning, but my booth display is set up so that I can move those inside if necessary. Sometimes I'll pull things off the shelves, so I only have pots on the table tops. A couple of times I've boxed up all my pots. I then just hunker down and wait it out. I have stayed open when others are closing down, and I have also been one of the first to close up. It all depends on the situation. I have spent many hours inside my zipped up booth, reading a book and waiting for the rain to stop.

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just talked to my friend who is a first-timer at a group show i used to do.   she is warm from her ankles up.   when i sent an email about the forecasted  heavy rains, i said wear boots.   she did not,  being a fashionable california girl.     but it is a garden show so she is enviously admiring the unlimited variety of wellington style decorated boots walking into the tent and going past.   those gardeners are a hardy bunch!  temps are in the low 50s.

show runs to 5 pm, radar shows rain should stop about then.    taking down all 5 wet tents will not be pleasant but at least there should not be too much cold water running down their arms and into their eyes.  

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Ha ha, up until a couple of years ago was in the the Pacific Northwest and may have a bias opinion but you would be cancelling a lot of shows in that area. I remember in Port Angeles several years ago I was literally standing at the back of the tent holding down in  a cold, gusty downpour while a group of nice customers, taking refuge from the downpour, were inside browsing and buying pottery. I can understand anyone who has stuff that gets ruined having to cancel but not pottery.  Not sure more than 10-15% of our shows were completely dry and until June they were often brutally cold.

I think you will probably burn many bridges with organizers if you take the approach going forward that its debatable whether you do shows unless its something to do with an emergency. Make no mistake, they expect you to be there rain or shine and generally no one is going to be OK with you not showing up absent an emergency.

Hope you hung in, are there now, and making some dough. Good luck!

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way to go man, you did what you said you would do. Weather is just part of doing shows. The level of no shows IMHO shows a lack of commitment and they hurt you directly and the show in general and next year I bet the organizers will think twice about letting them sign up. 

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That's not terrible. I count my break even point to be booth+all expenses +wholesale value of all pots sold. Assuming your wholesale value pays you something and you didn't have overnight travel costs, you're clear. It beats a zero day, and you're still building.

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