Thursday, October 28, 2010

Breaking Down & Loading Out!

Here's your behind the scene views as the artists break down and load-out
the October 62nd Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands.

After all of the hard work that goes into preparing for the Fair (I detailed some of it in our "Count Down Fun!" posts earlier), everyone spent all day Wednesday loading in and setting up their displays.  The Fair opened at 10 AM Thursday.  We spent four days in the Asheville Civic Center selling our work and meeting some really nice people, talking to old friends and meeting new ones.

On Sundays the Guild Fair closes at 5 PM.  The 130 members exhibiting on the Arena level disassemble their booths, pack them up, and head for home.

Here's an overview from the office-side balcony minutes before 5.

The "Voice of the Fair" (aka Liz Spear) has made the final announcements, and reminded the exhibitors about the load out procedures.

The Fair is closed.

Break down begins.

David and Melanie Grant packing his pottery for their trip home. 

For it to be fair for everyone and for things to go as quickly as possible, the Fair Committee has everyone completely break down their display and booth.  A number of us are walking the floor with load-out passes in hand.  We double-check to make sure that they are literally ready to pack their vehicles, then we give them a pass and they get their vehicle and get in line.

By the time I made a couple of walk throughs Pat had our jewelry put away and was beginning to pack our display.

Just after 5 the vehicles for the two critical corners are brought in early and they are loaded out.  Once they are clear traffic will be able to flow much easier.

A little after 5:30 I was taking some signs up to the office
when the first cars where brought in. 

Connie Brown and her husband Ted are entrusted with running the main entrance door.  They do a great job of keeping track of which aisles are open and marshaling the traffic accordingly.

Peter and Keith man the rear exit door.  This year we were more aggressive about slotting vehicles into the back area to help folks that wanted to walk their packing out to their vehicles.  It worked very well.

Load out's in full swing now! 

This is what a booth looks like when you get in line to drive in. 

Yet another trip up to the office, Pat's taking a break before finishing up.

That's when I remembered I had to make two trips home!  So we walked our plants and the table for our spinner rack out the back.  I dropped them off at home and was back walking the floor and helping in about 30 minutes.

It's really opening up now, and the pipe and drapes are coming down quickly.

Another 71 artists are breaking down and loading out on the Concourse upstairs too!

We're almost done.

The pipe and drape is handled by NC Conventions.  They always do a good job, and this year it seemed like everything was coming down earlier and opening up the space faster.

I think this about sums it all up.
Alan Hollar, the Fair Committee Chair,
tired and very satisfied.

And he's finally free to begin to load up before driving home! 

3 1/2 hours after the October Guild Fair closed almost everyone is on the road!

Neal Howard and Liz Spear are almost done, 

Bayley Wharton's wonderful booth is packed. 

We live just a few minutes away and so many of our friends have long drives ahead of them to get home. So we like to stay and help with load out. This year I think everyone set a record. We left at least an hour and a half earlier than we ever have. And it was Fun and satisfying to be part of this amazing transformation: from a major craft fair to an empty civic center arena . . .

Pat and I headed home.

We picked up a couple of chicken dinners at Ingles.  Since the Civic Center staff had warned me to expect heavy rain in the morning, I went ahead and unloaded the car when we got home.  I was finished by 10, with all of our stock and display stacked in our living room waiting to be put away.  After I ate I washed three ibuprofen down with a very well earned beer.  We talked and cuddled Tha Boyz until it was time for bed.