Getting ready for the outdoor show season

Yes, I know, its freezing cold, and we are all hibernating with layers of clothing, dreading the thought of going outside with the wind chill in the negative digits.  But this is the time for a few things that prepare for the busy summer season.

Winter is the best time to begin planning out the year…. evaluating what shows were successful, and what was just not the right fit.  Planning the year out helps to determine a production schedule for the year also.  In those frigid cold weeks of winter the last thing we could imagine is thinking about setting up a tent for an outdoor show, but it is a great time to take inventory, plan, prepare:

1.  Show Applications – many of the applications are coming out, or have early deadlines that can easily be overlooked.  Steve and I have wanted to apply for a specific show that always juries before the end of February, and this year we were able to get our application in before the deadline.  If you are looking for sources of information on art festivals see my blog post of January 15th which lists resources:

2.  Equipment – Now might be the time to take a good look at the tables, table coverings, tent, banner, and such – and clean what you can, repair what needs repaired.  Its a bit too cold to set up the tent, and scrub the covering (that is on the plan by mid April, just ahead of the first outdoor shows).  Our tables need a good once over with a good bucket of soap and water…. they have taken a beating.  A drop of oil on the hinges doesn’t hurt either.  We are considering buying new chairs for the shows… something that sits higher than our folding camp chairs.  While the camp chairs work, we have been noticing that sitting higher gives us an advantage of visibility, and eases our backs from the constant up and down. There is also a psychological advantage of sitting higher – apparently studies show that when you are at eye level you carry an authority that is lost when you sit in a regular height chair.  This might also be the time to look at and spruce up displays, racks and banners.  This is also a great time to wash the table coverings.  We now have a full set of black table coverings, and white.  We seldom use the white ones, so i have them washed, pressed and put away until they are needed.

3.  Print Material – Well ahead of the busy season we put in an order for a good supply of business cards, and this year we did a layout for postcards.  We reviewed the style and content of our business cards, and made some tweaks… increasing the font size, and clarity,  changed the blog address to our web address… and ordered a ton of cards so we have them in stock.  If you have flyers, postcards, or perhaps even schedules this might be the time to put in your order.  As much as we can, we try to stay local for our printing needs, however there are some deals that just cannot be passed up, such as buying business cards through vistaprint.  That is worth an entire blog post separately.

4. Purchases – The off season might be a perfect time for buying those extras that are needed for the season – bunji cords, tent stakes, white christmas lights (we got such a deal on a string of 150 lights)