It seems that there is always a new challenge to face when setting up a craft show outdoors and now that the weather has warmed up and outdoor craft show season is upon us let’s look at ways to keep your booth safe from the elements.
One of the biggest things you can do for yourself is to set up your entire booth in your back yard for a day. If it’s a breezy day, that is even better. You’ll get a real feel for how your booth needs to be laid out as well as any difficulties you might encounter with your displays.
Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing for outdoor shows.
Wind- Wind is no friend to big craft tents. The fabric of the tent tends to catch the wind and act much like a sail on a ship. One big gust and you might find yourself on the other end of the show looking for the remains of your tent. Be sure to have anchors for your tent and have everything tied down securely. We’ve used 5 gallon buckets of water and coffee cans of cement with a short pole & ring in the center as anchors in the past. You could also try jugs of water or any other weighty items with a handle to attach the tent cables to as a weights.
Tent walls, while they may keep out some sun and rain can be a real bear on a gusty day. Be sure all of the walls are secure and that you have extra help setting up or tearing down on a windy day.
Can you easily knock your displays over with your hand? The wind can do it too. Find heavier display pieces that have some weight to them to keep the wind from knocking things over. Place books in the bottom of boxes or crates and consider using duck tape to secure some of your smaller displays.
Don’t forget to weight down your table coverings as well as the other items in the tent. I had one show set up where I stitched heavy metal washers from the hardware store into the corners of all of my table coverings. You can also find weights to clip on to the ends or table cloth clips that clip right to the table.
Rain- Anything from a slow, steady drizzle to a torrential downpour is possible. Cardboard jewelry displays, cardboard boxes (used to carry items to the show and then used as part of your display) can turn to mush in a storm.
If it’s been raining off and on for several days prior to the show you may want to pick up a couple of bales of straw for the floor of your space if the show promoters don’t have it on hand (many will). Use it sparingly as straw tends to absorb water and stay wet. You will be amazed at how quickly the ground will dry out with a little sunshine and air.
Even if the show starts out fair and sunny go ahead and attach the walls to your canopy. Roll them up and let the fresh air in but if it starts to rain you can quickly lower the walls and protect your space.
Carry an extra lightweight tarp to cover your tables if needed.
If you are aware of an approaching storm you can lower your tent (on some models) and hunker down under it’s protection until the storm passes.
Be sure to bring an extra change of clothes and/or shoes.
Sun- While having a nice sun shiny day seems like the perfect outcome beware of damage to your inventory. Direct sun can fade, melt, warp or in other ways damage your inventory. Try to keep delicate items out of direct sunlight.
No matter what, stay positive the chances are that with a two day show one of them is bound to have some good weather. But either way the weather is out of everyone’s control and being a sour puss about it won’t win any friends or customers. Resolve to smile and be a good sport no matter what blows your way.
Do you have an outdoor craft fair horror store to share? Leave a comment. We can all learn from each other!
By: Vicki O’Dell, The Creative Goddess
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