Yesterday I was a vendor in the 36th Annual Sun Prairie Taste of the Arts Fair. It was my very first experience as an exhibiting artist and I was incredibly nervous from the moment I dropped off my application to exhibit. Can I really do this? Should I really do this? How much money am I going to have to spend to get a booth pulled together? Do I have enough art to display? And the real source of all my anxiety, Is my art good enough?
When I received my artist packet in the mail, it contained a list of rules (including the requirement of having a 10lb. fire extinguisher in every booth), my booth assignment (#137) and a map of the layout. There are 140 booths total on the map. My location is adjacent to a drive that connects two parking lots. The city Chamber of Commerce is organizing the fair and they claim they've had 4-5000 attendees at this fair in recent years. I'm pretty sure their advertising budget was $28, because I saw ONE sign in town this week, and High school graduation was the night before, which means lots of grad parties on the same day as the fair. I'm feeling very skeptical about attendance but I don't want to be a pessimist, so I hope for the best.
Last week the weather people were having a really great time changing the forecast every 4 hours, from scattered rain, all-day thunderstorms, scattered sun, temps in the low 70's, temps in the mid 80's...seriously, how is a girl supposed to make critical decisions when she doesn't know if there will or will not be water pouring from the sky? On the afternoon before the fair, the forecast was actually looking pretty decent but they were saying there could still be some showers in the area during the load-in.
So, Friday afternoon I packed everything that couldn't get wet into my Explorer. That meant A LOT of stuff had to go in my car. Framed paintings were in a giant plastic bin and the canvas paintings were in another large bin, but there was no way I could put the lids on the bins, so they weren't weather-proof at all. I also had two large boxes of the pieces that were matted and in plastic envelope-y things, also not technically weather-proof, so add them to the car. By the time I added in the display materials (including a cool, antique wood ironing board) and other essentials, I had played a pretty decent game of Tetris to get it all in there. My plan was to load the trailer in the morning with the grid wall, tent weights, tent and table, and off I'd go. 6:30 a.m. arrival was my goal.
Up by 5:30, dressed, partially caffeinated and ready to load the trailer, I walked into the garage, pushed the button for the door to go up. It went up an inch and then back down. So I pushed it again. It went up an inch and then back down. Repeat. REpeat. REPEAT!!!! I go grab my husband, I'm starting to sweat a bit, he pushes the button and gets the same result. REPEAT. Oh. My. God. Is this really happening? We do the next logical thing, pull on that rope that hangs down from the opener, the one that's supposed to disengage the mechanical opener and let you lift the door manually. Simple.
No it is not.
The door doesn't budge.
Now I'm in full hot-flash mode, husband is staring at the door with his hand under his chin. What. Is. Happening? "Looks like the spring is broken. That door is not going to open".
Kill me now, please.
Son #2, who is up and ready to go, runs upstairs to get son #1 out of bed and we quickly and carefully empty my vehicle of it's content, but it all has to come out of the partially open passenger doors because the back hatch can't open without banging into the closed garage door. It is now past the time I was planning on arriving at the fair and I am quickly watching my set-up time go down the drain. We transfer all my crap to a smaller SUV that is thankfully parked on the other side of the broken garage door, along with the trailer that still has to be filled with stuff that is, you guessed it, in the garage.