I love doing craft shows. Love it. But this season was a tough one. So much so that at the end of it all I was questioning how many shows I want to do next year. I might finally be getting too old for this. I won't get into the ins and outs of it all... but one show in particular haunts me still.
There is a music festival not far from here, in the beautiful forested mountains. For years folks have been telling me I should take my clothing booth there. My booth would fit right in, it's a fun time, etc. The only thing that stopped me was the heat. Like most mermaids, I don't do well in heat. But this year I tried to do many of the shows I had been avoiding for whatever reason. So I went for it.
The venue was a beautiful wooded park. I got there late in the afternoon so the heat wouldn't kill me during setup. There was a tiny slope I had to climb to haul my stuff from my van, but otherwise not too bad. I created a lovely double booth and I was happy. I did notice many other clothing booths, but that's not unusual at a hippie dippy fair like this.
The first day of the show started out great. Fun neighbors, beautiful day... I got up early, made coffee and finished setting up my goods.
By 11am the heat came and I was quickly immobilized by it. I brought my entire hot show arsenal... two battery powered fans, a smaller squirt fan, a hand fan and plenty of ice for my insulated water bottle. But, by early afternoon I couldn't move at all without feeling faint and nauseous.
I had called my hubby to bring me some lights, after learning the show goes late and everyone gets free electricity. It was so hot and business so slow, I figured the real party would happen after dark. I'd better be ready.
When I started complaining of nausea, my sweetie jumped into action. He grabbed two of my cotton bandanas and dipped them in the ice water in the cooler. He put one on my head, the other around my neck, dripping ice water all over me. They would dry quickly and he would repeat. I just couldn't move without total exhaustion. It was bad. So bad, that when my man started caring for me, clearly concerned, I lost it. It was like when you fall as a child and you're fine until your mom grabs you and starts cooing over you... I just started crying. I was so miserable.
And business was slow. Very slow. Still, I figured once darkness hit, people would do more shopping and my body temp would go back to normal. All would be well.
Not so. Even after nightfall, I just couldn't cool off. And business didn't pick up. We estimated maybe 500 people attended the show... maybe a few more. But not thousands. Nothing close to numbers that would support the booth fee. At all. And weirdly enough, I felt like my clothing was a little too mundane for the crowd, who clearly favored elf hats and fairy skirts.
The music was great though. Really great. If I hadn't been suffering so much, I would have enjoyed it more. By 10pm I was ready to close up and go to bed. All the other booths stayed open. Still feeling crappy with a pounding headache, I retired to my van right behind the stage. I laid there with the door open, pretending the thumping bass didn't hurt my head, and trying to meditate myself into a more comfortable state. The music went until midnight, there were still kids running around at that time.
Eventually it quieted down enough for sleep.
Promptly at 6am, I was awakened by the sound of bongo drums. A dawn drum circle. Of course. My immediate response was "you've got to be effing kidding me." I had a few hours more I could have slept... but no. Then I had a revelation, "If I get up now, I can pack my booth and be gone before anyone gets out of bed." I lay there letting that thought sink in. I can't remember a time when I left a show early. Ever. I always tough it out to make the most I can, however bad things are.
But the thought of suffering through another hot day and not making money just killed me. Why put myself through that? So I got up and started packing. I felt so relieved and empowered.
But then, while hauling stuff to my van, I slipped on the little slope and fell, twisting my ankle and scraping my leg. I said outloud "I'm going, just let me go!" haha. I did have a weird feeling like the place itself didn't like me. Maybe one of the other clothing people put an elf curse on me. Who knows, but the pain didn't end there.
A few days later I came down with poison oak. 3 weeks of torture.
A couple weeks after my poison oak cleared up, I opened a box of dresses from that show... and there was a giant bug in it that had actually eaten through a bunch of them. Someone called it a potato bug, it was at least 2" long. It was disgusting and dead and I had dresses with giant chew holes in them.
I couldn't believe it. For weeks this show followed me home and mocked me.
I may never return to that county again.