Art Fair Insiders

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In this summer of extreme heat, I was wondering how many of us have gone down in heatstroke over the years. It's been a challenge to stay cool this Summer and it doesn't look like it's going to stop anytime soon. I was in Des Moines where the heat index got to 111 degrees that weekend, and man, it was a challenge. I have a "frosty' cooler that I swear by. It's the Amazon cheaper version of the Yeti and it kept me hydrated and I have Ryobi fans also, but sometimes it's not enough. I have heard that if you have heatstroke or near heatstroke you are more susceptible. Not sure if that's true, but maybe I am just more aware of the signs now, so I know what to do. Anyway, if you have a good story, any great remedies or just some info we show know...Let's share it so everyone can stay safe.

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Comment by Al Scovern on July 19, 2019 at 1:55pm

Great post Marge because this is a real and worsening problem.  It’s a health challenge for artists who, tending to be just a bit on the older side, may be more susceptible to heat/humidity/pollution related difficulties. And it’s a problem for sales because people just won’t come out to fairs in the heat— they shouldn’t and are often advised against it in public service announcements.  And what does heat do to buying energy to the few poor souls who do come out? Ask my friend Jeri Vitello how she does selling fiber art in 95 degrees.  

I know there are many who take great pride in having done shows under awful working conditions, a kind of badge of honor.  I grew up with guys who made steel or worked in low coal mines who felt the same pride, but the working conditions killed them pride or not. To work in 100 degree heat, in a plastic tent, for 10 hours or more a day, with off the chart humidity, is an awful working condition. You can soak your shoes, drink gallons of water, sit on a keg of ice, or take ice water enemas for that matter and it won’t much help (and to think, we actually compete and pay for that hellish 10 x 10 space). If the climate trend continues, and why wouldn’t it, summer shows in the Midwest should almost certainly be indoors.  But that would take an organized effort on the part of Art Fair artists... which takes us back to ice water enemas.

Comment by Sandra J. Atkins-Moran on July 19, 2019 at 1:27pm

Hadn't heard the wet sneakers idea before, but be sure to wear socks.  I've gotten blisters from walking around in wet shoes.  Thanks for all the ideas, guys.

Comment by Connie Mettler on July 19, 2019 at 9:50am

Mark and Sandy, great ideas! I didn't know that you were more susceptible to sun stroke if you'd had it before. We also always had an empty gallon milk jug that we filled with water at the show and added a bunch of tea bags and made "sun tea." Cheap and easy and it kept us going.

Comment by Sandra J. Atkins-Moran on July 19, 2019 at 7:15am

Yes to all of the great ideas above.  And, yes, if you've been seriously heat affected once you are more susceptible to problems every time you encounter sever heat or exercise in high heat conditions.  I've ended up in the emergency room on several occasions-- rough on the body as well as the pocketbook.  Especially a problem for me during set-up when I was trying to get a great deal done in a short period of time.  Pace yourself and slow down!

Comment by Mark Zirinsky on July 18, 2019 at 4:58pm

Also, and this is key, avoid a heavy meal; eat a good breakfast, and a very light lunch, avoid red meat during the heat of the day; avoid alcohol during the heat of the day

Comment by Mark Zirinsky on July 18, 2019 at 4:53pm

Frozen water bottles

Wet baseball cap (keep it wet with water)

wetting your sneakers also will help cool you off


Gatorade (1 or 2 bottles in 8 hours)

Drink a regular water bottle every hour

Salt tablets or salty food

Sunscreen / sunglasses

Light colored clothing


Comment by Connie Mettler on July 18, 2019 at 10:25am

We installed a circular fan in the top of our booth to keep the air flowing. A few years ago when I was at Ann Arbor I got some great photos of "what to do" including this amazing idea of a double roof. 

And here's a video I made at one of the hot Ann Arbor shows:

and here are some more good ideas:

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