Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

I'm new here and not sure if this is the right forum (or if the topic has been done to death. I did try searching before I posted!).

After seeing photos of the horrible storm at the Columbus Arts Festival last weekend, it occurred to me that having a "storm emergency protocol" for me and my teenage son, who usually helps me, to follow would be an excellent idea. I have weathered some moderately scary thunderstorms, but nothing too severe.

Fortunately, I make jewelry, so I could probably clear my tables and secure my inventory in a matter of minutes.

I have an EZ Up canopy and a good set of canopy weights. I usually lower and zip my sides if there's bad weather brewing, but I'm not sure what, if anything, I should do beyond that. Lower my tent height? Is hanging on to the tent frame for dear life counterproductive in terms of its likelihood to bend?

I do think I'm going to buy another set of clamps and some pool noodles to combat water pooling on the canopy.

Any suggestions are welcome!


Views: 219

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Very helpful! Thanks!

How much weight? 

I'm thinking 80lbs or more per leg is good.

Are your cases glass? When our tent was lifted, twirled, and dumped all our cases were broken creating a hazard all their own. I've now taken to securing our cases at night too.

A heavier canopy would probably be a good investment. The wind can twist a canopy and break connections...the ez up has lots of potential break points. Plus heavier sides and zippers can help hold the wind out. 


As Jim Parker has said....good quality rubbermaid style boxes you can dump stuff in fast and secure it.




Carla - by securing your glass cases at night, can you describe what you do?  We always take them off the stands and place them on the ground in the middle of our booth. 

The first nite our tent was a rocking and a rolling. Fortunately b4 we set up our cases, a wind blast moved our tent, 12" with heavy weights + braces on it. Our glass cases were still packed up and the tables when they fell did not land on them. the end of each day we loaded anything heavy inside the cases to keep them from sliding off should a wind blast hit again and push our sturdy-zippered side walls into the stands the glass cases were on.... We also added extra weight to our tent so we had 100+ lbs on each leg.


Mike S. offered another idea. Clamp or zip tie your zippers so they can't be worked open by a persistent wind. Because if your side walls let the wind in there is even more sail area and things to blow against. We did that too.


When our light dome was taken out last wasn't a strut that broke. The frame held on until the wind twisted and TORE literally tore a corner brace off the leg. Go here:   to see what a sturdy, well-weighted and braced tent looks like after a micro burst. Just four tents were taken out that night. Ones on one side of us-gone; others untouched. Go figure.




Frances-don't use pool noodles, they don't hold up that well. A potter told us about We use hoola hoops. You zip-tie two together, then zip them to your upper struts. We use 8 hoops. We just had to replace our original set, after 187 (I'm rounding), shows. Make sure that you test out the hoops before you buy-some are very flimsy and will separate at the seam. We bought our new batch at Walgrens for 6.99 (and it was a buy one, get one free). Keep in mind that these are seasonal items too.
Thanks for the compliment Carla.  It's so important that each of us share our successes in building better booths!  I also use the large (not medium or small) orange-tipped clamps to clamp the corners just at the bottom of the zippers, because, as Carla mentioned, it not only keeps the zippers from riding up in gusty winds, it helps to tighten the side walls to keep them from "fluffing" so much.
I think I am going to start to call you "Fluffy."  Is that OK!
 One of the most overlooked things to do is to nail or screw the corners down.  Weights alone will fail if the booth starts moving sideways or starts twisting. I carry heavy concrete nails , square nails, drywall screws and the extra long six inch or so tent style nails along with fender washers to put the fastners through.

Thanks for all the replies for far. A heavier canopy is not in the cards for this show season, at least, so I'll do my best with what I've got.

Phillip, could you explain to me exactly how you use the materials you describe to anchor the corners?

The legs of most tents have holes on the flat part. Put a concrete screw through a washer and into the hole in the leg, and screw into the pavement. Or nail it down with concrete cut nails. A battery powered drill is the easiest way to do this. The idea is you want to keep the legs from "walking" sideways. Tapcons 2" or longer with a hex-head driver will work. You may have to drill a pilot hole first. Drywall screws are pretty weak, but easy to drill. 

Some shows prohibit the use of nails or drilling into pavement, especially those shows on nice pavers. Read first, nail later. 

Just a cautionary note about dry wall screws - they're made to snap off and will do so, especially if stressed by strong winds.  Home Depot, etc., sell hardened nails (in yellow-labeled boxes?).  I use those, two per corner, cross nailed so that whichever way the wind blows, the foot of the leg will be stopped by one of the two nails.  A heavy duty hammer works best - and watch out for missed whacks, because sometimes the nail will jump out at you.  And please pull out and dispose of the used nails at the end of the show - you don't want anyone to get a flat tire!

The problem with using screws is that I don't know how many times someone has come up to me and wanted to know if I had a power screw driver, because their battery is dead.  ALWAYS keep spare, fully charged batteries on hand!

And never, never nail in the pavement if the rules forbid this.  Or at least until you're all by yourself and there's no one around to say "You can't do this!  It's against the law!"


Fiber artists -- use this resource to find new buyers:  Advertise with Reach over 60,000 fiber arts lovers.

Our 50 Best Art Fairs

Look Inside the 2018 Art Fair Survey:
Who Won and Why

Join the MasterMinds Group for personalized coaching on your Internet Lifestyle Business! 

60 Page Report - Best US Art Fairs

Click Here to
Learn More


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2020   Created by Connie Mettler.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service