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Outdoor Fairs And Weather

rain craft fairs outdoors bad weather

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#1 Marian65


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Posted 06 June 2014 - 03:33 PM

I'm enjoying a stormy day reading through the C.A.D. forums.  I'm registered for a one-day festival tomorrow in a little village near my home.  Since it's less than 15 miles, it's not a huge deal although all the usual packing, unpacking, repacking, loading, unloading, etc., is the same.  North Central Arkansas is in a rainy spell right now and there have been brief thunder and lightning storms for two days off and on and looks like much the same for tomorrow (and much of next week).  There are a lot of trees in the beautiful little park and it's a lovely place when it's dry and not overly windy.  I did that show year before last and made a whopping $57.  It's almost 3:30 p.m. and I've just decided I'm not going.  Can't see much upside for myself nor my husband who will be doing most of the grunt work this year.


With that bit of background, I'd like to know how you experienced folks handle little events and weather?  Since I've already made my decision, your input probably won't change my mind, but I'm just curious.  The spaces at the country festivals only cost $10, so it's not much of a loss.  I contacted the coordinator earlier today and I'm told it's a go in spite of the weather.  The rain won't bother the old car show and some of the vendors, but neither of my neighbors (a face painter and an author's group) are going.


Anything to share?



#2 PSC


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Posted 06 June 2014 - 06:30 PM

I have a ez up tent, i waterproofed it, it has 4 sides i waterproofed them, i set up the tent with the walls attached and rolled up, incase of rain or wind they are ready to bring down, i bring pool noodles to tuck up in the canopy supports to keep the cloth from sagging, i have pvc pipes for weights 40 pounds per leg hung from the frame top and touching the ground with rachet straps, i also have 2 extra 40 pounds incase i need them, i bring tarps, clamps, clothes pins, velcro, bungies, paracord, hooks, and all manner of things to keep things from blowing.

If it starts blowing i take all pots and platters off easels and sit them flat. If i strong storm blows in I know i will not have enough time to pack up before the storm breaks so i hunker down, close all sides, move everything to the tent center and start packing the pots in the bins incase something crashes into the tent. If the venue will let me i pull my truck in front of my tent to help with a windbreak.

I few shows ago i was next to a crafthut tent whose tent walls were down all day on the sides...it made a lovely windbreak for my ez up and i barely felt the wind that day.

#3 DirtRoads


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Posted 06 June 2014 - 06:48 PM

Isn't there severe weather possibility for your area tomorrow?  One time I was at the Canton MS flea market and tornado sirens were going off.  That place totally cleared out.


My experience is that people in the Southern part of the U.S. are extremely sensitive to weather and attendance will drop drastically if severe weather threats exist.

#4 Mark C.

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:31 PM

With 40 years of shows I rarely cancel due to weather-but I do not work in tornado or severe weather areas-its only rain or wind and I work in both.

Always if my home show rains all weekend I go-I have never cancelled -for me its two fold -not professional and I am a professional potter. Second the public that comes out expects me to be there.

If it blowing 30 knots I do not set up a canopy even with 40#s per leg-I use common sense.

My display can handle it but a canopy can not

I have done extremely windy shows and been fine

I have done shows where it rained hard for 2 days and have done fine

I have seen canopy completly distroyed blowing like tumbleweeds

I have seen them 20 feet in the air-I have seen painting blow by like plastic bags

Yes I prefer sunny calm weather but thats not what always happens-I have been at shows that where cancelled during show due to weather like snow or rain or wind but never canceled due to wether in 40 years.

I have left early due to wether or set up late due to wether.

If they say its a go its a go. If this is a hobby then my comments will not apply

Most times I have driven a day or two and what weather happens happens and we suffer thrught it as professionals

If this where easy everyone would be doing it.

If its tornado weather stay home its ok.


Mark Cortright

#5 CarlCravens


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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:11 PM

Isn't there severe weather possibility for your area tomorrow?  One time I was at the Canton MS flea market and tornado sirens were going off.  That place totally cleared out.


My experience is that people in the Southern part of the U.S. are extremely sensitive to weather and attendance will drop drastically if severe weather threats exist.


Pshaw!  I went to the Renaissance Festival recently despite the threat of HAIL... it *DID* hail, and I happened to spend it in Captain Goldtooth's (Ron Taylor of Missouri) tent.  I went home not only with a cool pirate "grenado" bottle, but with an enthusiasm that finally killed my 2.5 year funk that had me avoiding the pottery wheel.


Seriously, you're right... if the forecast calls for possible tornadoes, we Kansans don't go to outdoor events that involve tents.  That's almost worse than a trailer park for attracting high winds.

Carl (Wichita, KS)

#6 oldlady


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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:42 PM

last fall I attended an event with the potters guild.  we usually field 8 or so potters who share 4 ez ups.  we knew going into it the forecast was for a week of rain.  I even called the arboretum to ask if they were really going to open.  "Yes!" was the reply.  they had hired some musical group to perform and we were just part of the side-show, I guess.  "We will move the music indoors if we need to but we will open."


lots of rain, no real wind,(that was the year before), 3 days of rain.  by late sunday there were only 3 other vendors in the big field.  we all packed up.  only $250 or so for me, other potters did better, hardly worth it to go.  the good part about a shared space is that we all did not have to be there all the time.

"putting you down does not raise me up."

#7 GEP


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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:07 PM

Here in the Mid-Atlantic we don't get much dangerous weather like other parts of the country. All of the outdoor events are "rain or shine" so getting rained on sometimes is just part of the job. Sitting in my canopy while it rains is no big deal, but man do I hate doing setup or takedown while it's raining. I have a sturdy and watertight canopy (Light Dome) and I always keep the side and back walls down even in nice weather, for protection but also it makes my display look better. When it rains the pots near the front of my display get wet, but luckily the pots don't care.

Another factor to consider ... if a show jurying is competitive, if you back out or leave early due to bad weather, you may never get invited back.

I tell people that to be a festival artist, you need to enjoy camping.
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery

#8 Marian65


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Posted 06 June 2014 - 11:23 PM

I now have an even greater respect for those of you who make a living from your pottery.  I'm a wimpy ol' lady who just started doing some fairs because I've run out of places to sell on consignment.  I don't do well in extreme heat and I think it's a waste of time to battle the elements for a little one-day event, so I think I'll just stick with the few indoor things that are close to home.  I keep working so the inventory needs to go somewhere.  :-)  Thanks for the nice responses.  I wish you all well and CAVU days.  That's an aviation thing for Clear Air, Visibility Unlimited.  May all your summer shows be cooler than normal and DRY!  Guess that's an oxymoron, but you get the sentiment.

#9 Pugaboo


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Posted 07 June 2014 - 08:56 AM


Another thing you might consider is doing events that allow you to share your booth with another artist. Find someone complimentary to your own work but not exactly the same so there isn't the competition thing in play. I did big festivals for years but I don't anymore preferring my own bed and easier events. For the bigger festivals around my home that is what I am doing. It gives you another pair of hands to help out, a person to chat with during the dead times that understands when someone comes into the booth you stop talking and interact with the client. It's also REALLY helpful for ehem... Old lady bladder... And I speak for myself. Finding someone to man your booth while you make several break runs during the day is very helpful. It also makes the cost a little less since you split the fee with someone else.

It's just an idea and it's been working for me so far.

As far as leaving events:
Only show I left even as they promoter was standing there screaming at me was one in Miami Beach. There was a Hurricane moving in and the winds had already destroyed a dozen booths. It was in a park and they would not let those of of still standing bring our vehicles in to use as wind breaks/ tie downs. There were NO people I mean seriously NO PEOPLE. After the first tent went down we all started hanging onto to our tents tripling up on the straps and anchors. Then when a whole row was damaged by 1 tent breaking loose and smashing into the booths around it we all started chucking what we had into boxes and carting it out. The promoter came by screaming THIS EVENT IS NOT CANCELLED! Threatened we would never get into another show, etc etc etc. At first we tried to be reasonable and explain why were were tearing down but finally just said Look we don't care if we ever get into another of your events and if we lose our entire booth, display and stock we won't be doing any events at all! Didn't stop them from screaming but by then we couldn't hear them over the howling wind anymore anyway.

Have done events that flooded to almost knee deep... Didn't leave. Did events with 60 mile an hour winds... Didn't leave. Did events with food poisoning... Didn't leave. But there are times when leaving is your only option to be able to keep earning a living.

The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#10 Marian65


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Posted 08 June 2014 - 12:24 PM

Wow, some of the stories you have!  Here's follow-up to this subject:  I awoke early Saturday and decided to do the festival after all.  The beginning of the day was wonderful.  Perfect.  Loads of people, vendors, and activities.  Then at 1:30 the storm hit.  My husband and a man whose family was in under our canopy looking at the pottery at the time, held onto the windward edge of our canopy.  Husband had it anchored well and weighted with dive weights, but the wind was storm strength and several people went chasing after their lighter-weight tents.  The two men and I hung onto the edge and took the rain face-on until the cell passed, about 15 minutes, I guess.  We started packing up after that and were gone by the time the sun came back out around 2:30.  All the vessels on one table were about half full of water so they had to be dumped and dried before repacking and I'll have to attach new tags to all that.  I use special tags that I pay for from the printer and then have to hand cut them because of their shape.  Very mild story compared to some of yours, but I'm happy I went and I enjoyed the people as usual.  My husband had a good time, too, so I guess I literally got my feet wet (along with the rest of me).  Thanks again for all your responses.

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