(That is called Foreshadowing)
On Tuesday on the week of The Junk Ranch, I took my personal blowmold collection out to the property and built a photo op area right inside the front gate.
The sled and chair belong to The Junk Ranch, but the rest is mine.
The old bike was sitting there too, so I added a snowman family taking a ride. It was very cute and it was a hit with the customers on Friday as they came in the gate.
Since I was on the property Tuesday, I was able to set up my tent and tables, then make trips with merchandise on Wednesday and Thursday in my car - so no van rental this time. The van is handy - but costly to keep the entire five days. So, it was nice to be able to do it in stages. The Breadman had offered to bring the giant box truck out on Saturday night so we could just load up will-nilly and be done quickly. It wasn't to be over until 7:00, so in the dark and cold loading needed to be FAST. So, he agreed to help, even though he had decided in the Spring that he didn't want to do that anymore. Don't ask - I have no idea.
Friday the gates opened at 10:00 for early shopping, then general admission at noon. There was a line at 10:00 - not the usual long, long line like in the Spring and Fall, but still a good amount of people. As I was in my booth finishing up, I could hear them talking in line and I heard my name. A lot. Like a REAL lot. When the air horn sounded that the gates were open, the people came in like cattle. Straight to MY booth. It was insane! I had people grabbing things they had spotted on FB and IG that they came specifically hoping to buy. The line to pay was out of my tent plus people were still shopping. When it finally slowed down - I looked at the time and it had only been 55 minutes! I don't normally count money, but I did a quick count and I had sold over $700 in that first 55 minutes.
This is the backside of the booth.
The Bean snapped a few right before we opened but I never did get any of the inside.
I shopped carefully for this hot cocoa, plaid throw display. I thought it turned out great. That sign was just for sale - I put the Breakfast with Santa on it to give it personality. I can't tell you how many people asked where the Breakfast with Santa was going to be. I mean, the field is full of painted signs that say BAKERY and FLORIST. Are people asking them for doughnuts and flowers? I don't get it. I ended up stripping it off and putting a clever "THIS SIGN FOR SALE" on it.
The side customers saw when they came in the gate. This was Thursday before my neighbors had set up their booth.
All the vintage. SO MUCH!
My first customer was Kelly, aka The Rosebud Queen, who bought an armload of stuff but came hoping to get this upcycled pink painting that I had done. She's so silly - she made me sign the back. Like I'm an artist or something.
These ladies bought my ornament encrusted wreath.
They loved it. I loved them for loving it!
The pink truck full of vintage pink goodies sold later in the day to this nice lady. It's funny that I ask to take photos of people, but I refuse to have my own taken. :D
It was a record first day for me. In fact, I surpassed the entire Fall Show in that one day. I was pumped. Saturday was a huge day in town with a Civil War reenactment plus Santa was coming and people were going to be shopping like crazy. It was going to be a great day.
The ladies of the Junk Ranch had worked so hard to decorate the property. The old farmhouse was so cute all lit up.
The blowmold Santas were fun lit up at night.
We were supposed to stay open until 7:00, but there was rain and possible storms in the forecast. We all started moving things in under our tents about 5:30 just in case it rained. About 6:00, lightening started getting very close, we all shut down and got in our cars to leave. My tent is always staked to the ground, plus we have weights on each leg and they are staked to the ground. We added rope from the grommets on the canopy down to more stakes to the ground. I have walls that come down to the ground, so we put everything under the tent, zipped up the walls and went home. It was all very tight and secure.
I was literally running to the car (I don't run) when I tried to get a photo of the old barn, truck and camper. It was dark and the lightening was really hitting close. It was scary.
It rained hard on the way home, but then it stopped. I watched the weather and the bad storm activity was going South and was missing us. I took a shower and got in bed about 11:00, but when I checked the weather one more time - a new storm was headed straight for us. It rained. Lord, it rained. Then the winds came. I have never heard wind so strong and loud. I was thinking so hard about my tent and my merchandise, that it occurred to me that the house could very well go so I better pay attention to what was happening. The wind continued for hours. It was so scary and so upsetting. I never did go to sleep - I stayed up watching the weather and checking Facebook to see if there was any word on The Junk Ranch.
About 3:30, there was a Facebook post - "Vendors we are on the grounds doing our best. If you have an outside canopy - it is mostly likely gone or heavily damaged. Come as soon as you can" My heart sank. I jumped up, put in my contacts, threw on some clothes and I was out there a little after 4:00. I was envisioning it all gone like you see on TV after a tornado. Wiped clean. Just as I was almost there, Amy from the JR texted that my canopy as partially off and to come as soon as I could. I texted that I was almost there. I couldn't imagine was I was going to find or see. I wasn't ready for what I did see.
All my things I had worked so hard to find and to create.
It all looked like trash. There was stuff on the ground. It was wet or muddy or had grass all over it or all three. It was so upsetting. But, what could I do other than just tackle it? Amy came to my tent and she was so overcome with emotions that she couldn't even speak. I was upset and sad. But, no one was hurt. People could have been killed if it happened during the day. It could have taken out our homes and our families. We were all okay. My tent was the only one that held. But, the rain soaked the ground which made one stake pull out in the wind, which took the canopy partially off. A Ranch Hand named Chris had tarped my booth immediately when they found it to save what we could. I owe a lot to him, Amy and Julie! One leg on my tent has a crease in it, so I am hoping I can get that fixed. Thanks to The Bean, it held. I am still amazed.
Most people had lost their tents - like blown a hundred feet away - furniture was tossed around, the porta potties had all flipped over, the glass nut roaster counters flipped and broke - there was so much damage. But, oddly enough? The Santa blowmolds were all perfectly in their spots - not one had moved an inch. The Bean had screwed and ziptied them to the house, but the wind must have gone the other direction and saved them. Honesty, if I would have lost them, I would have been sick.
I threw away a lot. Mostly vintage Christmas. I tried to salvage as much as possible.
I discovered that when Shiny Brites get wet, the color comes off of them. That color runs off in the water and that colored water stains. EVERYTHING. So, the ornaments had to go, the vintage boxes, the stuff the color ran on to - all of it. I had a bunch of Hershey's tins that were holding water. I knew they would rust and/or get mold - so they all went. The dress form was made of hundreds of layers of newpaper - it swelled up and was a mess. So, it had to go. Some of it I might had been able to salvage, but it was a wet rainy day and I didn't have anywhere to spread a thousand things out to dry. I didn't want mold in the garage, so I just tossed it. Luckily, most of my handmade stuff had sold the day before and what was left, somehow was perfectly fine. I didn't have that van and the truck was being used to deliver bread, so we had to load up and make multiple trips home. But, we got it all done.
When it was all cleaned up and in the car, I took a look and saved all these little pieces off the ground. It's all very me and very Holly Jolly Junk Ranch.
Here are the blowmolds safe and sound on my own porch again. I keep waiting for them to get stolen or blown away because wouldn't that just be ironic?
As I was pulling off the property Saturday, a couple came in the gate. I could tell they were confused - no one was taking money (there was a sign that said Event Cancelled, but it had fallen over) and there was a lack of tents and people. She walked over to me and said, "What's the deal?" I said that the event had been cancelled due to the weather. She started shaking and threw her hands up and said, "Well, isn't that JUST terrific? We drove alllll the way from Fayetteville for NOTHING?????" (Fayetteville is like ten minutes away, by the way) I said, "The vendors lost their tents. Some lost some merchandise. Some lost everything. Some are out of business now. People could have been killed." She was having none of that. Never mind that I had been up for 30 straight hours at that point or that I had thrown away a third of my inventory and half of what I had saved was soggy. SHE had been inconvenienced. And she was pissed. PISSED. I was tired and on the verge of tears. She just stood there berating me personally and I so badly wanted to push her. Push her hard right into that mud trench that I had made walking back and forth to my car over and over loading all that wet stuff. She had on white pants. It would have been epic. (Also, who wears WHITE pants to a grassy field after a HUGE rainstorm???)
I didn't push her. Instead, I got in my car and as I looked in the backseat and the muddy, grass covered tables, wet tablecloths and a mud soaked Santa head - It suddenly struck me funny - her rudeness, her lack of caring and that she was being so selfish. I laughed until I cried. It was cathartic, I tell you. Laughter is the best medicine.
I was home by noon, but I am told that people in town came out to lend a hand with tear down and clean-up. There are a lot of wonderful caring people in the community. Thank goodness. My doorbell rang shortly after I got home and it was a Domino's delivery from Lara. She had sent us food to feed our tired minds. Such a sweet thing to do. <3 nbsp="" p="">
So, the event didn't go as planned. For me, it was still a success. I had a great day of sales. People were so fun and so friendly. I did lose things, but nothing that I can't find again or make again. Vintage Christmas is my favorite thing to shop for and to create with so this venue was totally my wheelhouse. I think we'll try it again. I mean, it usually doesn't storm like that in December, so why not give it another go?