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Before I sat down to write this post I kept thinking about the title. Perhaps it should be "Full Circle", or "121", or "Am I Ever Tired!", or "Weekend in Mount Dora." Any and all of those would be appropriate, however, I think the title sums it all up nicely.

As you know I worked for many days preparing for the show, all the while wondering if my efforts would be in vain. I'm happy to report they were not. Although silly me, I did forget to order one of my most popular canvases!

On Thursday, my only play day of last week, the groomer came while I was playing bridge to clean our little Baxter up, giving him a much improved look. She always puts a little holiday kerchief on him and this time was no exception. It's kind of funny how he matches the print somewhat.
The print visible in the twirly thing was the last print sold of the show, or at least nearly the last. Some of the activity tends to run together after 14 hours of selling!

You may recall late last year the wonderful woman named Nancy at the Mount Dora Center for the Arts who contacted me about the festival image. As you know I did not win that competition, however as it turns out, not without a fight from Nancy. I learned from some board members I met in the parking lot that she really fought for me, proclaiming that my story was enough to pick me. How nice is that? Furthermore, she was kind enough to respond to an email Friday morning about my booth number and set up time. The directions were somewhat confusing for a first timer so I thought I'd ask and she took time out of her busy day to answer, for which we were grateful.

Bruce worked from home on Friday, not only his Darden work, but putting wires on 10 baby canvases. As well, we redid the framed price sheet and bio, wanting everything to look top notch. I don't know if it helped, but it sure didn't hurt.

With Nancy's answer in mind, we decided to leave the house at 4 in the afternoon, hoping to make the 33 mile drive, arriving in Mount Dora with enough time to get a bite to eat before our 6:15 set up time. Unfortunately the traffic getting out of Orlando on a Friday night worked against our little two vehicle caravan, turning what should be about a 45 minute drive into well over an hour. Nonetheless, we did arrive, picked up our information packet and found just a little time to get something at this place:
By this time all the downtown streets were closed off to traffic and shortly thereafter Bruce got our vehicle, waiting in a long line to make his way to our spot. And what a spot it was--absolutely perfect in every way. Not only was it a corner space with great visibility, it was on the main street AND it did not face the sun. I have NEVER had a space so great. I have a feeling Nancy had something to do with my good fortune.

Then the fun began. Setting up is always hard, even more so in the half darkness. But set up we did and finally closed the tent up after 9PM. There were still lots of folks working as we made our way back to Orlando. I've called the post "Perfect", however, there is one tiny part that was not so much. Bruce has a favorite singer-songwriter, James McMurtry, the son of Larry McMurtry of Lonesome Dove fame, who was playing at a downtown club Friday night. We worked hard to make it so he could at least catch some of the gig but sadly it did not pan out. Despite driving as fast as we legally could, Bruce hopped off the interstate, made his way to Orange Avenue, only to be dissuaded by the lack of parking. By now it was after 10 and he was concerned that by the time he arrived the show would be over. With disappointment, he came on home. So, that wasn't great, but he promises he's not holding it against me!

Five years ago, six weeks after getting my camera, we strolled the Mount Dora Art Festival to get ideas for a booth set up. That day it rained. It was totally in the back of my mind all the while I prepared. During that visit I took this very same shot:
This time, however, it was just down the alleyway from my booth AND the excellent parking spot we had for the Element. Because this is the 37th year for the show, the folks in Mount Dora know what they are doing! They make everything as easy as possible and the town looks marvelous. The park just down the way from our booth was lit with thousands of lights at night, making for a sparkling spectacular.
Mount Dora relies a lot on tourists from near and far. There are lots of antique stores in the area as well as empty spaces downtown. Unlike the downtown empty stores in downtown Orlando, the folks in Mount Dora spruce theirs up, giving them an inviting, albeit somewhat surreal look after dark.
The festival is not only important to artists but equally so for the area merchants. There were folks from all over enjoying the art AND the PERFECT weather. Despite predictions ranging from 30-50% chance of rain, the weather could not have been better. Cool in the morning, warmer in the afternoon, with a smattering of clouds in the blue, blue sky. No humidity either. It can't be overstated how important a component the weather is to a show. Ah yes, you know that if you've been reading for very long. No real need to drag up the monsoon weekend now is there?

I left the house around 6:30 Saturday morning to finish setting things up. I'll tell you what--the new weatherproof sides Bruce bought are NOT easy to roll up, taking me nearly a half hour just for that. Most importantly though, if we do have a monsoon again, my pieces will stay dry.

Although the show did not open until 10, people began arriving much earlier. In fact, one family was there at 7:30 in the morning! My first sale came around 9:30. Baby, it was SHOWTIME! The sales kept coming, some big, some small. The people were terrific with no haggling whatsoever on Saturday for which I was very grateful. You know how much I hate it when people want to make a deal. Before that first sale I discovered that my watch battery was kaput. Bummer. But not so fast--it turns out there was a clock store just behind me. Knowing how much it would bug me all day, I popped in and had a new one in minutes. Perfect.

This shot of Fifth Avenue was taken in the early morning. Sadly it isn't very good, but it does give you a notion about the set up. Isn't that sign for a gun store weird in the midst of an art show? Unlike the artist sitting beside his booth on the right, my chair sat empty all day long with scads and scads of folks throughout the day. Early on I sold two of my largest canvases which obviously pleased me to no end. More followed, including a canvas of an image that sat dormant in my photo library for nearly three years. A few weeks ago I went back into my library to see exactly how many times it took me to get the decanter shot. Once, twice, twenty shots? I had no recall. (two). When I did so, I came across the original glass I was using to hold corks that prompted me to dump them in said decanter. Although I've sold the decanter about 50 times, I never once put out the glass. I'm glad I did because not only did it sell but I'm proud of it. Duh! This will lead me on a treasure hunt through my library looking for other overlooked gems.

Bruce showed up in the middle of the afternoon looking so handsome. What a pleasant surprise to turn around and find him there. After a brief tutorial on Square usage, he took over some of the transactions. It worked like a charm for most of the time, however, I know I'm not the only one using it, prompting an overload to the network. Taking it outside the tent, and--get this--holding it aloft, seemed to do the trick. People were amazed with the ease.

You know how when you go to a drug or discount store and you buy a bunch of things that don't cost very much, only to be surprised by the high total? That's about how things went. I sold loads and loads of $10 prints. But you know what? They add up over time.The upbeat economic news Friday was welcome, however, people are still watching their dollars as well they should. I am always glad to have the big sales, but small ones are good too. After all, we started this business with the notion of selling prints for small spaces and it still holds true to an extent. Most of the crazy things I shoot are better suited to small in my opinion; I think that's one reason I struggle so with choosing things to make large. In any case, we couldn't have been happier with how things turned out Saturday.

As I drove home I talked to Roger who wanted to know if I needed anything more. After some hemming and hawing, I decided on the glass one again, as well as Lazy Daisy which is the one I meant to show and forgot to order. Don't ask me how he got the canvases to dry, but dry they were when I picked them up from their front porch at 7:30 Sunday morning. Not as busy as Saturday, after all it was Super Bowl Sunday, crowds still came out in abundance, including two of my bridge buddies, Bev and Allison. What a lovely surprise for both them and me. I dare say they liked what they saw.

Sunday afternoon Bruce arrived with a hand cart, planning to tote things to the car after we took down. I wasn't thrilled with that idea, but because he's the project manager of our team, that's what we did. Actually I did very little toting, instead, stayed with the open vehicle. Thank God he is a strong man!

And that was that. We drove our little two car caravan home in the dark, arriving just after 7. He unloaded, I fixed dinner, we ate and watched a little football, including the highly entertaining Madonna halftime show, and finally, during the fourth quarter, gave into our fatigue. We went to bed oh so happy that the show went well.

You would think Bruce is perfect from my descriptions and he pretty much is. Make of it what you will, but he does like to be right. As we went to sleep he said, "I told you I was right when I said five years ago that you might be able to do something with your photographs." By golly, he seems to have been.
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