Before, After, and After Again.
I was looking forward to sharing photo's of my tent, products, and display that I set up at this year's Festival. So here is the photo from before the Storm on Thursday . . . Well, sit back and read what happened!
I was so excited that I had my new tent this year and I was sure it would not leak if it rained. I made a banner for the top of the tent and sealed it, I thought, from the weather. I liked the look of the set up inside the tent and I was looking forward to another wonderful experience at the festival.
Even when I learned we had to close early on Thursday due to the approaching storm, I wasn't worried because my tent had the metal grid walls tied to it so I thought that was enough weight to hold it down from the wind. They are pretty heavy and even the seasoned vendors thought I would be OK. So, given enough warning all of us started to close up our tents. Because I have paper products I took longer than anyone and was possible the last vendor there as I made sure everything was off the walls and into plastic bins with lids. Then I even pulled the tables into the center and on top of those bins just as an added precaution.
I was just about done when the storm hit....FAST. My tent started to lift and fall over to the side toward where you see me standing in the photo. The tent on the other side had fragile items in it so I knew I couldn't let it fall over and have those heavy grids smash her tent and all of her products. I was ALONE at the time but was soon joined by Linda & Jen from the Farmington Center Florist - who have a regular shop where the fair was set up. (If you are in the area please go there they are GREAT people and I want to promote them as a very small way of pay back for their help! www.farmingtoncenterflorist.com)
It rained so hard and so fast that it was like we were in a waterfall, not a shower, a waterfall. It was impossible to see well and hard to keep from chocking on the downpour. I know there was another woman there, but I couldn't tell you who it was because it was all so frantic! We knew we needed to cut the metal grids off the tent so that it could be lowered and then less likely to flip. The problem was nobody could let go or the tent to do just that. Screaming for help we were soon joined by some teens who were taking shelter under the walkway of the flower shop. They helped us hold the tent down while the grids were clipped loose and dropped to the ground. Then we could lower the legs on the tent. It still didn't guarantee it wouldn't flip, but it was all we could do.
Drenched and emotionally drained I cried as I drove home - partly from relief because we didn't smash the other vendors tent, partly that I had watched many of my products and boxes flip over and float away, but mostly from fear. Truly it was the most terrifying experience I have ever had. We were standing in the rain & lightening holding down a tent with metal grids and a metal frame as the parking lot flooded and the water levels kept rising past our ankles and splashed up our legs. All this and I still didn't realize how bad it was until I watched the news coverage on television later that evening. So...before I show you the aftermath, and the what we rebuilt I cannot leave out the Blessing Of The Lord and His hand in keeping us safe during what was a very dangerous situation.
NOW....here's what I saw when my husband and I went back to check the damage on Friday morning.
This doesn't look so bad, but look at the sign on my tent.
and inside here is just a little of what we saw...
As we moved everything out of the tent so we could dry it off and see if there was anything left for us to stay open we found mud underneath it all ....
Still....I HAPPY TO REPORT that not everything was lost and we did reset the tent, although due to the mud in our area we moved our location slightly to another spot behind were we had been.
As you can see, I didn't have as many kits and scrapbook layouts left and I did worry about running out of the Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogs since I lost 16 of them to the storm. But, we found we liked this set up even better than the last and as an added bonus we didn't get the late day sun inside the booth. Although I did still manage to get a sunburn.
And later during the event we were visited by a few of the city's pageant winners.
Left: Elizabeth Anne Hawthorn, age 19, Miss Oakland County 2010
Right: Morgan Stocker, age 15. Miss Oakland County Outstanding Teen 2010
It was a long weekend, but I admit that after we reset the tent I was able to enjoy meeting many new friends and seeing several long time friends and customers during the event.
My husband, Michael, worked very hard to help me with this event and still worked this regular job, except on Saturday when I asked him to stay with me (more storms were possible and I didn't want to be alone again). He also spent the most of his time in the sun because there wasn't room for two of us in the tent at one time if people were shopping. So, he deserved a much needed rest under the big tent across from where we were....and I had to catch it in photo or two!
I am excited to see many of the winners of the drawing at some of my upcoming Scrapbook Classes that I am giving away from this event. If you'd like to attend one of them, please email me for information.
Will I do this show again next year? You Bet! We learned a LOT about what to do, and what NOT to do.
See you there in 2011.