Saturday, April 19, 2008


I find that even after doing shows for more than 10 years, I still get excited the closer it gets to the show date!!

The night before, my husband andI have loaded my van with all the equipment that I need for my set-up and display. This includes, my canopy, canopy sides, black gridwall, folding table, chairs, umbrellas (just in case...!), my tool box, and other odds and ends! In the morning I only have to load my containers with my creations.

Now...I always tell myself I better get to bed early the night before so that I will have plenty of rest for the long day ahead! Well, that usually doesn't work, as it seems whenever I know I have to be up at the crack of dawn, I end up laying awake thinking....gee, I have to get up pretty soon!

Now it is time to get up.....I could have sworn I just went to sleep! Some shows have early "set-up", which means you can set up the night before. That is great if it is a show close to home, or if you plan on staying overnight where the show is being held. Other shows only allow you to set up the morning of the show, which means you should get there as close to the hour that is designated as "set-up" time. It is wise to get there a bit earlier, especially where a show as the exhibitors' booth space smack dab next to the other booths, both front and back! It is really hard to get your booth up if everyone is already set up right next to you.

Another thing I've learned is to put my canopy sides up, even though the weather forecast doesn't include rain.....we all know how wrong they can be!! It is a lot easier to attach your sides, and then roll them up into the top of your canopy, and clip them with clamps. Then......if it does start to rain, it is a lot easier to just roll them down from inside your canopy.

If at all possible, it is a good idea to keep your containers somewhere within your alloted booth area, so that when "tear down" time arrives they are right there for you to start packing up. I always bring along a big black tablecloth size piece of fabric. (black goes in with my display of black gridwall). I can then use this to cover up all my containers and other junk and still have a great looking display. I've been in many shows where you had to have everything contained within your 10' x 10' booth.

  • CLAMPS - I usually carry at least a dozen or more. I like the black heavy duty plastic ones with the orange tips. These have so many uses....clipping them to the canopy legs when it gets really windy. The velcro straps on the side aren't always enough to keep the sides from flipping open, clipping up your rolled up sides, and we've even used them to create a canopy of shade for ourselves by clipping them to a nearby tree or bush. You just never know......when they might come in handy!
  • CLEAR PLASTIC SHEETING - I always keep a couple packs of the 9 x 12 clear plastic sheeting that you can find in any paint department. This has saved me many times from having my creations ruined by a sudden rain. I can flip them over my gridwall display and customers can still see them.
  • TOOL BOX - It is always wise to make up a little tool box, where you can carry a hammer (for pounding in canopy stakes), screw driver, wooden wedges (a lot of booth sites on grass aren't always level), wire snipper, extra canopy stakes, and whatever else you feel you may need for your particular display set-up
  • BUG SPRAY - nothing can be more annoying when are sitting outside for two days, and are being bombarded with mosquitoes or other annoying little insects!
  • COOLER FULL OF ICE CUBES - That has saved us (my sister and ) from melting at many a show. It can get pretty hot, when you are at a show in 90 degree plus weather.
  • BATTERY OPERATED FAN - This past summer, I bought several fans, which sure helped me survive the hot weather, and my customers enjoyed it also. People don't seem to buy as much when the weather gets so hot.
  • BUSINESS CARDS, CARD HOLDERS, PENS, AND YOUR ART SHOW SCHEDULES TO HAND OUT (People always are asking, "where will you be next".
  • PACKAGING SUPPLIES - I have a separate container where I keep all my packaging supplies such as bags, ribbons, colored tissue paper, etc. (I arrived at one show, which was about an 2 hour drive from my home....and lo and behold, when I made my first, bags!!

Even with all the work and long hours that are part of doing shows, I still LOVE it!!

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