Yesterday, Saturday, June 3, I participated in this festival, held on the grounds of the Heller Homestead and put on by the Saucon Valley Conservancy. The event was held in Hellertown, south of Bethlehem, PA, about an hour from my house.
The show featured about 50 artists with booths set in the grassy area surrounding the house and in the gravel parking lot. I did this show two years ago but did not attend last year. It’s a new show – 2015 was its first year.
We drove to the show in rain. I was not happy. I’ve vowed to avoid doing shows in the rain any more, but the weather forecast was for clearing later in the morning. I crossed my fingers.
We arrived. It was pouring.
We were directed to our spot. Knowing the site from my earlier attendance, I asked for a space up near the front. Here is a show tip – you don’t want a space that is hard to access with the car. Setting up is not usually the problem – many shows, like this one, assign arrival times to keep congestion down. But when the show is over, and you want to go home, being able to bring the car in close to your space, when you want to, becomes important.
There is nothing good about having your booth all taken down but being unable to get your car nearby to pack up because – your neighbors’ cars are already in the way or you are blocked by the displays of people who take down more slowly than you do. Hard feelings can erupt when people are tired…
My space was right up front, on the gravel. In this kind of weather, the thing to do is get the tent set up and put everything else underneath it. Anything not water-proof has to stay off the ground.
It’s not easy to set up in these conditions. The things you want are always stacked underneath everything else. Trying to keep things dry is a challenge. The ground itself can be a hazard. Our neighbors’ spot was muddy and sloppy. The show organizers were ready, though – they had bales of straw on hand to scatter around. I am allergic to straw, so I didn’t ask for any in my space. At shows, you just have to take what comes as it comes.
Well, we got things set up and without too much ill-temper. Having a corner space, I had extra display room. I appreciated that as I could hang two large paintings I recently did. There is not always enough room for paintings this size. They take up a lot of sales space.
Then, around 10 AM, the weather started to improve.
By the afternoon, well, we were in a different world, it seemed.
To top it off, I received an Honorable Mention for my work.
Packing up was a breeze and we were on our way home 45 minutes after the show ended.
This show had it all as far as weather experiences. But we got through it.
And I’ll take this time to say the volunteers were unfailingly cheerful and helpful, the show was very nicely run, there was a good selection of artists, and my show neighbors were pleasant to be with. (I traded a small painting for some tiny clay bowls with my neighbor across from me.) Sales were also good and the crowd appreciative. So, maybe a rough start but a good end to things. That’s a the way for it to be.