After over a year without art fairs, I'm planning to get back in the game this summer, but with a few significant changes. Less art fairs is one of them. I've got Muskegon, Michigan in June, Krasl in St. Joe in July, Naperville in September and Belleville in October... that's it. Easy Peasy...
But there is a more significant change that I'm making. The set-up. For years I've used a Trimline with Propanels... the closest to a bomb-proof art fair setup I could find. It's worked great for me, with no significant problems due to weather and wind. I love it... once it's set up. But it's the set up that kills me. It typically takes me five hours of brutal physical exertion to get it all up and running.
I'm 75 years old... and tired. Also, my trusted assistant (my wife, Marcia), has called it quits. She refuses to do another art fair with me. She has "retired." In the past I've done the occasional art fair without her and thinking about those art fairs makes me even more tired. After a year off, I can't imagine setting up that Trimline and Propanels all by myself again. I've hired helpers in the past to ease the heavy lifting, but I just don't feel that is a reliable alternative. And, I've toyed with renting a tent and Propanels, but that gets expensive.
Last year my Chiropractor son-in-law bought a top of the line EZ-up. The shipping from Amazon got screwed up and they had to send him another one. A wheel was missing on the one he finally got. He complained, and they sent him a replacement tent but told him to keep the damaged tent. Then, a week later the first tent he ordered was delivered. He wound up with three tents! He's giving me the one with the damaged wheel. I went to EZ-up and found a "wheel kit" for $16. So, now I have a EZ-up pop-up tent, and I plan to use it at the next art fair (weather permitting).
I'm also considering buying mesh panels for the EZ-up to eliminate another back-breaking task (Propanels). If anyone out there has a mesh panel set-up for an EZ-up they want to sell me, let me know.
I'll keep the Trimline and Propanels. I want to see how this lightweight alternative works for me. If the forecast looks threatening, I can revert to the Trimline (my aching back). If the weather looks good, I'll use the Pop-up. If pop-ups are banned (like Columbus) I may just rent a tent. I just want to get in a few more years of art fairs before I "retire," like my wife.