Monday, September 22, 2008

Edwards Place Fine Art Fair

Springfield, IL
September 20 and 21, 2008

Friday: Left the house around 7 AM. Dropped Rusty and Bucket off at the vets in Harrison for boarding. Bought our first gasoline of the trip in Ozark, MO ($3.36/gallon). Ate lunch at an I-44 rest area just shy of Rolla, MO. More gas on the west side of St. Louis ($3.79/gallon). Arrived at the motel in Springfield, IL, around five o'clock (460 miles). Checked in to the motel and unloaded our personal stuff from the van before driving on down to the show. Unloaded the van and began setting up our booths. Got the canopies up, the fixtures in place and the merchandise into the booth before it became too dark to see what we were doing.

A note about driving through (around) St. Louis: Like most major cities, St. Louis has a loop. As you enter St. Louis from the west on I-44 you have a choice of getting onto the loop heading north (Chicago) or south (Memphis). Since we're always heading toward Chicago we always take the north section of the loop. A friend told us to try taking the south loop. We did. It may be a few miles longer around St. Louis, but the trip around to the south is faster because of much less traffic.

Even though Jo looks as if she's intent upon whacking someone over the head with that spatula, I think she's actually selling it to the lady behind her.

Saturday: Back down to the show around 7 AM and finished getting all our pots and spoons out and organized. We were ready to go when the show officially opened at ten o'clock. Sales during what was left of the morning were good, but things slowed way down during the afternoon. There just weren't nearly as many people attending the show as there usually are on Saturday afternoon. Jo and I still did okay, but many exhibitors did not. (Later, we learned there were showers in the area even though no rain fell on us. The weather may have kept some people away.)

Saturday evening there was an awards ceremony with free food, beer and wine. We won no awards but did partake of the food and refreshments.

Edwards Place is said to be the oldest home in Springfield, IL, "still on its original foundation". The home and it's owners played a prominent role in Illinois politics in the 1800s, including the local politicking done by Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

Sunday: The crowd was better than on Saturday afternoon. Sales were decent. Considering everything that's going on in the economy right now, I consider decent pretty good. (Presidential election years alway seem to have an adverse effect on fall show sales.)

The show closed at four o'clock. Jo and I finished packing and loading around 7:30. We were the very last exhibitors to leave. We usually are. If we can get the van close to our booths as soon as the show ends, we can pack and load in around three hours. At this show we were able to do neither.

Where the buffalo chrome. A sculpture on permanent display at Edwards Place.

Monday: Away from the motel around 8 AM. I drove from Springfield, around St. Louis (via the south loop) and all the way to Cuba, MO, where we got gas. About five minutes after we got back onto I-44, the right, rear tire on the van disintegrated. I mean, it suffered a sudden and total tread separation. Jo did an excellent job of getting the overloaded van traveling at around 65 mph slowed and safely off the Interstate while running on three tires and a rim. Then, I got to change a tire while the 18-wheelers whizzed by a few feet away. After I got the tire changed, we had lunch at a rest area a few miles down the Interstate. The price of gasoline had fallen over the weekend. We only payed $3.26 per gallon in Ozark, MO, on the return trip. That's the cheapest gasoline we've purchased in a long while. We finished the trip without any more problems and got home around 7 PM.