When I left New Smyrna early Thursday morning, I waved Ellen a goodbye kiss and took a big breath.
So far as I knew this was about the only show to go on for the weekend in Florida.
Vero is a biggie, So was Winter Park the following weekend.
I had ordered and bought lots of inventory, printing papers, mat boards, frames and glass in anticipation.
My past history told me I had the potential to make $10k-$18k between the two shows.
That could hold me over into late May. I needed this bad. Just like so many of my friends,
I was also looking at nearly $2k in booth fees due by the end of the month.
I headed down I-95 with crossed fingers.
I arrived early and found my booth space. Challenging, but I could handle it.
You could feel the apprehension in the air.
Everybody was trading stories. Shows cancelled, what are we going to do. What future shows were closing.
By 3pm, after a cool lunch with Chris and Linda at the Riverside Cafe I was finally setup.
Everybody was looking forward to making money on Friday.
We counted ourselves lucky.
The. At 4pm I heard the first rumor.
They were cancelling Winter Park.
I about threw up. Way to spoil a perfect Mahi sandwich.
Minutes later, it was official.
Now, I was really sick.
Let me preface this—about sick.
When I did Gasparilla two weekends earlier, I caught an airborne virus from somebody.
First I got that tickle in the back of my throat. Next day I was coughing up yellow mucus.
The next two days, I had no energy, stayed in bed. Went to a clinic on Friday and was diagnosed with a viral respitory infection. Not the Coronavirus.
Got an inhaler, took Musinex, and started a daily pill.
Laid low next five days and slowly recovered. Ellen caught it.
By Wednesday, day before. Vero, I was still weak.
BY Thursday I felt ok and was on my way.
So Friday morn first day of show, we were all ready.
I heard that more than a dozen artists had shown up early to see if there were any cancellations.
There were none.
People came early.
There was good social distancing.
Nobody was on top of another.
no coughing, no sneezing.
I signed for people on my Square on the IPad.
Alcohol wiped all cards and screens.
People were happy to see us.
Not a lot of sales going on, but people were happy.
Friday is never a biggie here, If you make $500 you are doing good.
Had lots of bites.
Usually the wife comes today and Spock’s out the show.
Then they drag their husbands off the golf course and buy on Saturday.
I had at least 12 situations like that. Saturday looked real good.
Then, do not forget this was Friday the 13th!
The shitstorm hit us,
.We had heard rumblings around the show around 4pm.
Show was closing—permanently.
At five minutes before closing, the red golf cart with the show director started making the rounds.
We were told that the show was closed, by sheriffs order, and we had to get our white tents and asses out of Dodge. Pronto.
I got a sick feeling again. This really sucked.
I packed out in less than two hours. My heart was not in it.
I started having feelings about artist oblivion.
This is what I found out later.
The Show wanted to go on. Because of Trumps Excecutive Order police depts. had to close down all large public gatherings. End of show, no refunds. Tough, fucking shit.
So, it is Monday and I am at my fav NSB bar, the Ocean Breeze. It is Monday Monday, so all food and drink is half price for guys.
We just got the news. The bright orange Tuna said that any gatherings of people are verboten, unless you are at one of his rally’s. A little sarcasm.
I ordered another Patron and sushi.
I am living on the edge.
Jeez! We thought all that was important, was to get in the best shows and prosper.
Now! Who knows, where is my next future sale. And online is not where it is at.