Let me begin by saying that every since I began seriously trying to get into art fairs, Penrod has been my dream, a symbol to me that I had really made it. The Penrod Art Fair is one of the BIG 3 Indianapolis art fairs, the other 3 being Broad Ripple and Talbot Street. I've tried to get into Penrod on and off over the past 7 or 8 years. Last year I was wait-listed, but didn't get in.
I almost didn't apply this year. I have been messing around with my booth design and decor and it's not "there" yet. At the last minute I sent off my Zapplication. Wonder of wonder, I GOT IN! I was thrilled, thought that I was hot stuff, and got THE BIG HEAD, having to go sideways through doorways for the past few months.
As the time got closer, I got more and more excited. My husband and I had a major disagreement about how to exhibit our wares. This was a BIG DEAL. (Have you noticed how many BIG's I've used?)
Our last show was on the edge of Lake Michigan where there was a major storm and we noticed some small leaks in our old, serviceable Under Cover, so decided to get out our new tent for Penrod rather than try to patch up the old one.
Thunderstorms were predicted for the night before and the day of Penrod, but we have weathered other storms here in Indiana and coastal storms in Florida, so we weighted and staked our tent and went home to work on last minute details feeling secure.
Boy did we get a surprise when we arrived yesterday in the middle of heavy rain. Our new tent had caved in! The four side poles were securely anchored, but the top was down in the tent on one side. The wonderful Penrod volunteers had a replacement tent sitting in front waiting for us. We didn't have any of our work in the tent, so there was no damage there. We lifted off the destroyed tent, righted the displays and dried things off as best we could. We were ready to open, in the rain storm, on time.
The field we were in was so saturated that we were nearly wading in the water. Each step in the booth resulted in muddy water coming above the soles of our shoes That pond of water became a mud-pit before 2 hours had elapsed. Penrod put down a mile of plywood sheets, but ran out before they got to our section. We sold some jewelry, but it was disheartening to see people pass us by because of the condition of our mired mess. Around midday the sun came out for a bit and created a steamy muddy mess.
Load out was hard, not the fault of the great volunteers, who carry things from the car and to the car for you. The problem is that the beautiful museum ground setting had only 2 entrances for the 350 volunteer. Parking is about a mile away with shuttle buses provided. After tear down and getting to the car, everyone waits in line to get onto the museum grounds, then waits inside the grounds for space to clear so that you can load. The volunteers communicate from the entrances to the 4 art fair sites on the grounds and vehicles are let in as there is room. My area was the last to get out, with 80 some spaces. I spent about 1 1/2 hours sitting in the middle of my stuff until my husband could get the car in. I was pretty much cross-eyed with fatigue by the time we got home. We live 15 minutes away.
My first Penrod was something that I won't forget, but didn't live up to my BIG dream. I'm so grateful for the volunteers, that we didn't lose money and that I can say that I have done Penrod.