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My 14 year old Lite Dome sustained considerable damage in a severe storm this Sat. All 4 corner pieces were broken off and many other frame parts were bent. Now my dilema, as many of you have probably faced at some time in your art fair career, is - do I spend megabucks on replacement parts or do I purchase a new tent??? I know the weaknesses of my Lite Dome in wind. I do not have the lower stabilizing bars or the upper corner stabilizers. Also I wonder about the durability of the plastic or cast(instead of my aluminum tubing) top upright corner. Should I purchase another brand tent? Please everyone...share your experience with other brands of tents that are available for purchase today. All advice is appreciated! Yes, I have a show this coming weekend so this is urgent! Thanks all!!!

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Comment by Pat Falk on July 22, 2010 at 11:58am
Claudia, I haven't made my purchase yet as a friend is lending me a tent for this weekend. I have had many great comments by artists re: the Trimline. Marking the parts with electrical tape is a great idea. I will definitely practice putting it up before going to a show. I did that years ago with my Lite Dome. Thanks everyone for all the great advice and suggestions.
Comment by Claudia Winter on July 21, 2010 at 11:53pm
Hi Pat. If you haven't made your big purchase yet, consider my 2 cents. I ditched my EZ UP for a big-girl tent a couple of years ago. I bought a Trimline with some accessories. I do shows alone so I knew I'd have to set it up myself, but I was reaaalllly tired of the wind and the rain and everything making me nervous with the EZ UP. I figured if I'm going to make a leap I might as well skip right over aluminum and go straight to steel. (The point of upgrading is get something more sturdy, right?) No matter what tent you get, practice in the backyard a few times. I got some colored electrical tape and marked the pipes that fit together, then wrote on the pieces with a Sharpie so I couldn't screw it up! 40 pounds of concrete/PVC on each corner and you're good to go. Good Luck!
Comment by Robert Wallis on July 21, 2010 at 3:19pm
I'm afraid I'll have to weigh in with the Sam's Club EZ Up. The supplied canopy leaks around the seams a bit, but I've been using a John Mee canopy top with it and have had no problems. I do anchor my ProPanels to the legs with zip ties to minimize flexing, and I use PVC tubes with concrete for the corner weights. Depending on the show I also have concrete blocks with a 2x8x16 board liquid-nailed to the block that I screw the legs into for 35-40 pounds on each corner. The outfit has been through 60+ mph winds and held up okay.

It's short notice for the show this weekend, but the Sam's Club EZUp, which is the heavier duty version , is around $190 and a John Mees top for it is about $260 that has to be ordered direct. Get some cans of Scotchgard for the seams of the original top and that'll get you by for a show or two. The latest version of the Sam's Club EZ-Up has foot pads that slide and lock into the legs and extend out where you can sit something on them or screw a weight into the pad plate. Good luck!
Comment by Katherine Graham Sarlson on July 21, 2010 at 10:48am
I have a used "show off" that is very similar to the Trimline and I love it. As prior posters have said, it takes a while to set up (it's not hard, just lots of pieces) and is heavy but is well worth it. I had an EZ up that lasted 5 years in all kinds of weather before a gruesome death in a storm last summer. I love my new old tent. The Showoff or Trimlines are great.
Comment by MICHAEL ALAN STIPEK on July 20, 2010 at 12:46am
Over the 4th of July weekend I was doing a show that "enjoyed" 70 mph straight line winds and heavy rain. We were on grass, but due to the sprinkler system, we couldn't anchor into the dirt, but had to use weights. Not a single Trimline or Lite-Dome suffered damage (most of these tents had Sta-Bars, the steel ones, not the aluminum that Lite-Dome sells), but almost every one of the EZ-ups and their cousins got seriously whacked. If you're expecting severe weather, I suggest getting the tie-down straps that you can cross-tie on the back and sides of your tent. They have cinch buckles that tighten the straps and will make the booth as solid as one can hope for. You can get them at Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.
Comment by Pat Falk on July 19, 2010 at 8:16pm
I wondered about the new Lite Dome. It doesn't seem as well built as the one I have. I appreciate all your comments sooooooooooo much. A friend is borrowing me a tent for this weekend and we are scrambling to get a display together as mine was totally destroyed Sat. night.
Comment by Deidre Nabors on July 19, 2010 at 6:20pm
I too lost my 15 year old Light Dome a couple of summers ago in a storm. Since I had many good years with my old Light Dome I decided to purchase a second one. BIG mistake. The new Light Dome's are not nearly as sturdy as the old ones. The corners are plastic and the whole tent moves around. My husband finally took the poles from the old Light Dome and made stabilizer bars for the bottom and also made some other adjustments to make it more reliable. We did talk on many occasions to the people at Light Dome about the problem. Their solution was to sell us some corner bars, which did absolutely NOTHING to help. They refuse to admit that the new tents are inferior. My suggestion, anything but a Light Dome. We also have talked to approximately 10-12 other artists with the new Light Dome and every one of them had the same complaints as we do.
Comment by Geoff Coe on July 19, 2010 at 4:47pm
I would REALLY, REALLY avoid setting up a Trimline tent for the first time at a show! (Unless you have a generous set-up period the day before the show.)

You would be better off renting a tent for this show, and arranging for the rental folks to set it up for you.
Comment by Dawn Waters Baker on July 19, 2010 at 12:10pm
Hey Pat. sorry about your tent. I also have a Trimline and love it. I am a 5'4" woman and can put it up myself. It takes a bit longer but like Amy said I sleep better at night. Also, I have the stability bars at the bottom and it makes a huge difference in wind. I am not sure if you could get the tent in time for your next show but the Trimline people are great. Talk to them about your situation. Hope your work was alright through the storm.
Comment by Pat Falk on July 19, 2010 at 12:01pm
Thanks Amy! The only complaints I hear about the Trimline are that it is too heavy. Any comment on that aspect?

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