Monday, May 10, 2010

Its Not Always Sunny in Sterling

"Windy Pods" by Annie of DwellinStyle on Etsy

May weather in the Midwest is unpredictable to say the least. Snow is not uncommon......Either is an 85 degree turn on the A/C kind of day.

I spent most of last week in flip-flops, enjoying the warmth of the spring days and dreaming of my soon to come summer vacation. But, Mother Nature does not like Midwesterners to get too complacent or too comfortable, so by the weekend, things turned downright nasty.......Just in time for my outdoor show!

I was awakened on Saturday morning by the howling of the wind. I looked out the window to see drizzle and gloomy, gray skies. Awesome! Despite the awful weather and frigid temps, Matt and I made the hour long trek down to Sterling to set up for May Fest.

Nothing about setting up my booth went smoothly. Even though the I had zip-tied sand bags to each leg of the EZ-UP tent, the gale-force winds were knocking it around. I put up the tent sides to block the wind, which did seem to help for a time. Every time I got part of a table set up, a gust of wind would push against the tent side and knock it all down. I was frustrated, but determined, so I would try again. Eventually I just tried setting things up on the side of the tent opposite the direction of the wind. The last straw was the overturning of an entire table, busting 2 frames and denting several others!!!

My booth neighbor Rebecca, of Rebeccabags on Etsy was nice enough to help me pick up the pieces of what once was my booth. (She's got adorable floral themed wristlets and bags in her shop. Check her out!) I didn't foresee the weather getting any better or having much of a crowd showing up, so without as much as one customer, the day was over for me! Matt and I repacked and were on the road just minutes after the show was supposed to start.

I was pretty disappointed, but have to admit, it was a learning experience. I will be wary about signing up to do an early May event again, unless its in Arizona or somewhere else warm. For my next show, (Art on the Lawn, June 13th) I will have everything securely hung up on some sort of wall and not deal with easels. I also know that I have to find a heavy-duty method to weight down my tent. Any veteran outdoor vendors have any tried and true suggestions?

Have a good week friends!


  1. we use cinder blocks and bungee cords and have never had our canopy fall over

  2. Thanks for the suggestion Tiffany.

    I found a whole forum thread with some good suggestions here:

    I also found an awesome tutorial on the Etsy Metal Blog:

  3. Thanks for the suggestion Tiffany.

    I found a whole forum thread with some good suggestions here:

    I also found an awesome tutorial on the Etsy Metal Blog:

    I'll let you know what I decided to do.

  4. I know this scenario all too well :) Jennifer. This being my third festival season here is what Ive learned. The most secure and discrete way to weight down a tent on a non concrete surface such as dirt or sand (beach shows) is to buy rebar in 4 foot lengths from Lowes Its cheap and easy just pound the rebar into the ground at each corner of the tent 2 feet about half length and then duct tape the tent to the rebar steaks. Your tent will never go anywhere trust me. Ive used this method in storm weather on the tip of long island with insane wind. I like this methods because it is discrete like i said no huge buckets of sand or pvc filled with concrete cluttering up your tent. However if it is a concrete or asphalt surface your displaying on. I recommend the PVC pipes filled with concrete method. place an eye hook at the top before the concrete sets and you'll be able to hang the weights still discretely out of view from the corners of the tent. I would suggest 75lbs a leg though for an EZ up.

    As for wall construction I made my own for about $300. But it required a few welds. Ill send pictures to your etsy with a description on how to.

    Good Luck


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