Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WOT at the London Bridge Ren Faire

Greetings and Huzzah! I survived Lake Havasu's second Renaissance Faire! 

Faire workers and vendors took a beating from the weather. Actually, it was their tents and merchandise/property that did. In the hope this might be of some help to other authors/vendors who visit my blog, here is my tale of woe on what happened.

My husband Lee and I went to the event grounds on Thursday, Jan. 7th, to set up my brand new green tent. The weather was nice but a bit windy. I worried that the wind might get worse that evening. I insisted we get more stakes to make sure our tent was firmly secured to the ground. We went to Big 5 sporting goods store and got more metal stakes and tied extra guy lines to secure each pole. We also tied milk gallons jugs of water for added weight. I had read too many horror stories about vendors losing their tents to gusty winds. Once it was up and firmly staked down, we went home for the night. I left nothing inside the tent and kept one wall uncovered.

Costway OP2829

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Three damaged tents. Mine was in the center behind the beige tent. You can see the silver roof lining turned inside out.
The vendor to the left of us was a very strong, well-built canopy. (That's the beige one in the photo above with the light green cover with the big rip in it.) There was little concern they would suffer from the weather. Lee and I noticed that the vendor to the right of us had not yet come, but we hoped these two tents, plus the tents behind us, would offer more protection against the wind.

We thought wrong.

Upon arriving the next day for the event we discovered our green tent lay in a crushed heap. I have no photo of it as I was too stunned to pull out my smartphone to photograph the damage. (Since this post, I found a photo taken of the damage on FB. See it above.) It stayed attached to the ground as we had hoped, but it was flattened in a mangled heap. A couple of workers came over to offer their help in untangling the twisted, broken tent bars and poles. The wind was worse that morning. The tent to the left of us was ok, just a few holes in their canvas walls, but the tent to the right of us was gone. They had already removed the debris of their tent by the time we had gotten there. Part of their roof was laying on the ground. They said nothing to us as they were busy collecting their crates and overturned tables and leave. Lee thinks their tent either hit or landed on top of ours because it wasn't staked down well enough. There is no proof of that since everything was cleared by the time we got there.

Though the entire frame was lost, I was able to save the green material. After our little green tent was put into the nearest dumpster, I wandered to find the Faire Director, Ray. He was over by the Main Stage talking to a group of vendors and workers. I found out we weren't the only ones who suffered a loss from the damaging winds. I don't know how many vendors had to abandon the event, but there were several. A couple of guilds who came to entertain and participate had to leave because their tents and/or equipment was damaged. Ray had no choice but to let the public in for free and take a loss in revenue because of the bad weather and the disheveled state of the faire grounds.

And the wind continued that morning and most of that day.

I cried in the car on the way home. I cried because I thought the whole weekend was a total loss and my book signing could not take place. I cried because I had spent countless hours sewing and preparing for this event for the last four months. I had designed and sewed eight colorful banners for the VIP Tent and later designed and sewed 22 VIP tote bags for this faire. That was a lot of work and hours I put in because I support this event so much. And I know Ray and his wife, Pat, appreciate it sincerely. They are good people and they work hard to put on this huge event.

Later that day, after I pulled myself together, I read the paperwork that came with my tent more carefully and learned that this model should never be set up in windy conditions. Sigh! It's a "fair weather" tent only. Lesson learned. All that work I did, effort and loss, was for nothing, because of the weather. It was a big deal, a big opportunity for me. And now it was all ruined.

Or was it?

When we got home, I thought about how I could salvage the weekend. I saw there was a huge roomy and very stable pavilion near the Main Stage. I texted Ray for his permission to set up my table and crate of books there. I explained I didn't need much room, just a corner. He agreed, under these circumstances.

The following day started out cold and gloomy, but I was there very early with my books and table. I dressed in my warmest costume and donned a new velveteen cloak since there was no heat in the pavilion. With a thermos of hot soup, treats and a couple of blankets, I prepared to make the most of the day.

My spirit was high despite the gloomy weather. The band, Highland Way, did a great job to liven up the mood of the people there including myself. I was so happy I began to dance and sway to the music. But the faire was almost empty that morning and rain started to fall. I protected my books and new banner easily by pulling the table inward from the rain drops. Once the sky began to clear, people came. The banners I sewed for the VIP looked great!

VIP Tent with 3 of the 8 banners I designed and sewed.
Three more banners I designed and sewed for the VIP Tent.

My book signing was far from a total loss. I sold enough books to make a decent profit, promoted my blog and stories and enjoyed the event that weekend. All I had to do was look around and ask. I was even interviewed! Here's the video link:  Youtube Video Interview

So, my fellow writers and authors, may my tale of woe help you understand the importance of having the right attitude when things go wrong.  Dry your tears and pick yourself up. Grab onto hope and your faith that something can still be worked out or saved. Ask for help, if needed. People can be very kind and generous, especially in bad times. All I needed was a "yes" from the Director, and the weekend was saved.

Next year, if I get a better tent, I will read the accompanying paperwork very carefully and monitor the weather forecast hourly like a hawk!

Keep writing and don't give up on your passion!