And a good time was had by all

This past weekend was the North Quabbin's signature 2 day event, the Garlic and Arts Festival.  This was the festival's 16th year and my second year as a vendor.  It takes a lot of work and planning on my part to get ready for an event such as this.  I have been sewing for almost 6 months to have enough inventory to fill up a 10' X 10" space.  It usually rains during this festival but not this year...YEAH!  It was very busy all weekend.  I got a square a few months ago that one uses with an iPhone so I could accept credit cards this year.  This more than doubled my sales!  WOW!  Since the card swiper part of the square failed to function all weekend, we ended up manually imputing the credit card info and at times the iPhone connection was a bit sketchy but all my customers were very nice and patient.  It was definitely a different experience from last year when it rained all day Sunday and though I did make some sales, it became painfully obvious soon into this past weekend the amount of sales I lost last year due to not being able to process credit cards. 

That's the business end of the experience....there is of course the human end of it.  People's reaction to my work, it blew me away.  Many people stood in my booth, looked around and asked "Did you make all of this?"  That surprised me.  One of the outstanding parts of this festival is that all the booth holders are locals...PERIOD, no exceptions.  Also, it is juried for the artists, and out of the 125 booths, only 35 of them are artists selling durable goods.  Everything in your booth has to have been made by you, NO EXCEPTIONS.  The other thing that surprised me was the amount of interest in my work and how I go about making the coiled fabric bowls.  It was very gratifying to see all of this interest and people enjoying the stories behind what went into making the bowls.  My husband Tim gave up his entire weekend and sat in my booth helping me out and processing  most of the credit card sales.  What a guy!!!  He had a very gratifying moment when he personally sold the bowl that he had suggested the design for.  I was taking a potty break at the time and when I got back to the booth he couldn't wait to tell me!!!  He wrote down on the sales log "Tim's bowl".  One of the  inputs when making a manual credit card sale is the customers zip code.  If I didn't recognize the zip I would ask them where they were from.  This festival has obviously become a destination since most of the people were not locals.  I definitely not only thanked them for their business but also for making the trek to Orange, MA.  This festival is a real boost to the area which is not only very rural but also economically challenged.  200 + volunteers make it happen.  On Monday I went up to the festival site to put in my volunteer hours to help with clean up and breaking down the festival, 13,000 people and only 3 bags of garbage.  EVERYTHING else was recycled or compostable....a feat in and of itself.  Not only that but from where I was standing it appeared that a good time was had by all!  Here is a link to a video Cindy Bennett shot at this years festival...ENJOY!