Craft fair thankfulness at A Fair in the Park

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What is Craft Fair Thankfulness?

I am experiencing the special emotion of Craft Fair Thankfulness. This past weekend I participated at my first, proper craft fair in the USA and thankfully, it went better than expected emotionally and physically.

Emotionally, I am swooning with Craft Fair Thankfulness. My style of felted hats are not everyone’s cup of tea. Would the chic Princess Kate wear one? Probably, not.  However, I would be delighted if she did!  More importantly, would craft fair-goers in Pittsburgh like my hats? Nervously, had to wait and see what would happen at A Fair in the Park.

Fortunately, both the craft fair organizers and the public approved. Excitingly, I received an artistic plaque of ‘Outstanding Originality’ from The Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh, the organizers of A Fair in the Park. It’s quite a fun and be-fringed award – much nicer than a shiny trophy that one might win for a sporting event.  There was an extra treat; I get half off of my booth fee for next year’s Fair in the Park!  That is a very motivating boost!

 

Craft Fair Thankfulness - award from the Craftsmen's Guild of Pittsburgh

 

Additionally, the appreciative reaction from the Pittsburgh public was a welcome surprise. I loved being a not-so-invisible fly on the wall while I demo-ed feltmaking and helped visitors try on hats. Watching as people’s expressions changed as they tried to figure out what was displayed. Had someone ask if the small hats/fascinators were pasties for burlesque. Saw many smiles and not just bemused ones. Listened to direct and overheard comments – ‘whimsical’ ‘creative’ and ‘imaginative.’ Although my favorite was ‘ingenious’. Isn’t that the neatest compliment?

Surprisingly, (to me) there was much trying on of hats. At times my craft fair booth looked like a disco, with arms reaching for hats and women and men jockeying for the mirrors!  I’m very sorry that I didn’t get to chat with the woman who said that she followed me on Instagram; it was quite hectic at that moment! Lots of interesting folks. Lots of wonderful chats! Very Energizing!

Most of all, I loved seeing the excitement in the wearers’ eyes when they saw themselves in the mirror or on their phones. This top hat, which several people called ‘The Johnny Depp,’ was quite popular. {Shall try and write a blogpost on the fascinating topic of Hat Popularity.}

 

Craft Fair Thankfulness when this young visitor appreciated the top hat.

How was there physically Craft Fair Thankfulness?

An outdoor event is at the mercy of the weather.  Hot, cold, wet, dry or windy. You choose!  Pittsburgh has rather changeable weather and this weekend was a perfect example.

  • Friday, it rained a lot so was surprised and pleased to see stalwart craft appreciators out with their umbrellas.
  • Saturday, it was sunny and HOT HOT HOT. That didn’t deter these folks from leaving the comfort of the air-conditioned homes to have a look. It was quite busy….but not at my booth. See below.
  • Sunday,the weather was the best as it was cooler. These temperatures (in the 70s F/ 21 C) encouraged the handling of wool and more people looked at the hats.

A second aspect of Craft Fair Thankfulness in relation to the physical weather was that my tent didn’t blow away in the dreaded, night time storms. There was a FEMA alert one night! At UK craft fairs, we only used ‘marquees’ which are tents without sides. Putting sides a tent makes it surprisingly aerodynamic. I was worried that my tent would become one of those dreaded events: an airborne monster that careens and smashes a ceramicist’s booth. ~~shudder at the thought~~.  Fortunately, I had done my preparations on how to weigh one’s craft fair tent. This blogpost on Art Fair Insiders was helpful. I used a combination of concrete-filled PVC pipes and home-sew sandbags. The former worked better than the latter.

 

Craft Fair Thankfulness to not have my tent blow away due to these DIY weights.

 

However, even with preventative measures, the weather still impacted my tent. I had water puddling on top of the roof from all the rains, This could have collapsed my tent. One of my many friendly craft fair neighbors, Dunn Metal Designs, lent me a helpful pole to push off the water from on top.  Additionally, a mop was used on my ‘dance floor’ – more to remove slippery leaves and bits of grass.

 

Craft Fair Thankfulness - a mop helps with the weather.

 

In short, I have Craft Fair Thankfulness from participating in A Fair in the Park. The humans and elements cooperated and made a welcoming environment. Yes, I think that I will certainly do this again!

As a result, I’m now looking towards the autumn for holiday markets. If you know of suitable craft fairs that are near Pittsburgh, please share below in the comments. Cheers!