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The Best, and The Worst

Time and time again, in this space, you've read about my experiences at various art festivals. Today, you'll be reading about both the best, and worst, festival I've yet to do.

Friday I spent most of the day organizing my prints--emptying every tub and box, while doing my best to edit! Ha ha!
Then, in the middle of the afternoon I made some veggie chili for the arriving sons. I just love chopping vegetables when I'm a wee bit anxious.
As also previously discussed, putting things out for sale is always a gamble because you never know what folks will buy. So, in spite of a gazillion subjects in my baskets, people invariably ask for something more. Such as the young man who purchased a black and white photo of a barber chair, taken in DeLand, I might add. Do you have any more barber related photos? No sir, I don't. Then there was the person who wanted music related items, eschewing the guitar photo, instead wanting a piano. Again, sorry. Further, there was the woman who came to my tent asking if I was Gail Peck. "Yes ma'am. Do I know you?" She responded that she felt like she knew me from poring over my website. About the website---I'm terribly uninterested in it, rarely adding or subtracting anything. As such, there are images on there that haven't seen print in ages. Naturally she wanted one of those! U-Turn, taken in January of 2009.....
I think she left wondering what kind of "artist" I was!

And then there was the weather to contend with. Not good at all, at least on Saturday, with gloomy skies, along with intermittent rain and wind. Surprisingly enough, there were more people on Saturday when the weather was terrible, than on the clearer skied Sunday. Plus, there were more buyers. Go figure.

I was pretty darn glad when I zipped up the tent to head home on Saturday just after 5.
I believe I speak for all of the artists--happy to get out of the weather. Driving in the dark is not my favorite, but it could not be helped for this show. In fact, Bruce left the house at 5 AM Saturday morning for the set up. Most festivals the set up is on Friday night, however, in DeLand, they use the main street, only blocking it starting at 6AM on festival day. I left about an hour later, and it was dark, dark, dark. I'm not quite sure how he even set things up! At day's end there was still some light, but not much along with steady rain for about 30 miles of my drive home leaving me more than ready for a glass of wine when I got home!

Because more rain was predicted for Sunday afternoon, during the close up time, I left early Sunday morning as well in order to get our fantastic parking space very close to our booth. So, that was one of the best parts of the show--easy parking. After opening the tent, I made my way to the "Artist Oasis", walking down the already decorated Woodland Blvd.
DeLand is the county seat for Volusia County and they have an excellent government building.
You can see how wet everything still is from the overnight rain. Number two great thing about this show is that they FEED the artists, both breakfast and lunch! So very generous of them, as I believe I ranted about the Winter Park show where they don't give you so much as a bottle of water! They have an excellent team of volunteers, who not only serve the food, but do booth watching so you can go eat, AND come along with bottles of water!
I cannot say enough about how wonderful this is. That said, Sunday was pretty slow. My friend Brandy was super close to my booth, in fact this shot of her and Melissa, who did that terrific horse painting you see ($5,000!), pretty much sums up Sunday--long and not enough sales.
So funny that they were dressed nearly alike--Brandy is in the pink tennis shoes.

It turns out, I'm sad to say, that this was my worst art festival, in terms of sales, that I've ever done. :(
I did, on the other hand, sell SEVEN of the framed canvases making me very happy indeed. Another thing that made me happy was when the boys showed up--Matt, Tom and Bruce! We all worked together taking it down and it went super quick.
Which was a darn good thing because our drive home was anything but!! Traffic stopped on the interstate just after Sanford, and we crawled until we could finally get off at Lake Mary. With Matt using my phone for directions, he steered us towards an alternate route. I joked that at least we weren't in Buffalo, bless their souls--no clue how they do it! What should have been a quick 45 minute ride, turned into about 90+ minutes. Had we not got off when we did, there's no telling how long it would have taken.

With that in mind, it seems only fitting that once we got to Tijuana Flats for dinner, we waited, and waited, and waited, for our food. Eventually, after getting someone's attention, our much needed food arrived with the main dinner discussion Bruce's hot sauce rating criteria.

For the last three years I've been applying to this show, not getting in, so I was looking forward to the chance to show once again in DeLand. Would I do it again despite the lower than hoped for sales? Probably, because it is one of the few shows that treat the artists as more than a commodity. To be in a show such as this, I paid $40 for the jury fee, followed by, once I was accepted, $270 for my space. So, right off the bat you are $310 in the hole. I know countless artists that never get out of that hole, and I am more than grateful I am not one of them.  You do the math. Should all art festivals spend some of that money on the artists? I think so. In the best case scenario for a show, the artists would be treated well, AND they would have good sales! Sadly, that is seriously rare.

Now that the show is behind me, time to get to Publix for the turkey. Getting a head count just now for Thanksgiving which is a mere four cooking days away!
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