The Octagon Art Festival is put on by the Octagon Arts Center in Ames, Iowa. It’s held outdoors on their rather scenic and historic main street. For the low-down on the perks and problems of this event, check out last years post on the Octagon Art Fair.
Firstly, the sales (for me) were really good. But several of my painter friends were not as happy. Ames is kinda made for me (though I have had an occasional bad show there) with the USDA Veterinary Labs located there as well as a Equine Veterinary College (Ummmm hummmm) Sales-wise it was a good way to end the outdoor season.
And then there was the weather
Since this event is so late in the year the weather is almost always questionable. Aaaannnddd despite their being 0% chance for rain and temps in the low 80’s (sounds a little like paradise doesn’t it) we once again wound up feeling grateful that this was our last outdoor event of the season.
Actually the day started off lovely. Calm, warm and sunny. But about 2pm that began to change. (cue ominous music- theme from jaws should work.)
Also a big thanks to everybody who stopped by and said “hi” and helped me with my Weirding-Out-Because-Someone-Who-Reads-My-Blog-Is-Standing-In-Front-Of-Me recovery. (or did I decide it was therapy?)
The winds whipped up to 35 mph and by dusk were blowing harder still.
Remember when I said rain was not the enemy . . . wind is. It really is. All my grumbling about packing up wet and carting out product in a downpour is nothing compared to the anxiety I feel watching my tent sway in gale force winds. I imagine Omaha has not helped me with this phobia, But still, when you hear crashing noises (followed by a group gasp) coming from down the street you begin to feel a little nervous. All the artists get anxious and frankly then the crowds get anxious. Then they stop buying and pretty much leave.
Several tents did come down in ruins. Mostly EZ-Up styles I think. I do plan on doing a post on tents sometime here because honestly EZ-Up types work fine except in the hands of novices, who of course are usually the ones using them.
We did manage to make it until close (5pm) and get packed up with no damage which required some skill on our part and a lot luck. One of my friends was not so lucky. His neighbor untied the weights from his (the neighbor’s) tent and apparently wasn’t holding on to it (idiot) because it flipped up and onto Carroll’s tent, causing it to topple.
My neighbor had his family come to help him with tear down. He had one person clinging to each leg of the tent as he was running among them bringing the tent to the ground. As he was doing this he said “And kids, this is why you need to stay in school and study hard. So you don’t ever have to do this for a living.”
Art fairs are a huge amount of fun and profit can be made but they are also risky. My best suggestion is to have insurance. Not that having it will alleviate any tension you feel during bad weather situations, but at least your covered if the worst happens.
Note: Holy Crap-oly is my new favorite “public friendly” curse word. I used it many (many) times on Sunday. I try very hard not to swear in public, (not even the public friendly kind) but in times of duress I fall back to my roots. And since I was raised by parents who swore like drunken pirates, Holy Crap-oly is downright wholesome.
Updated: Hey Olga, I wanted to get down to you. How did it go? Did you manage to get out okay? Feel free to email if you don’t want to go public.