We love participating in VARF, and were happy to return for five weeks this May to June! Of course, with an outdoor fair and the growing Virginia heat, there are always some hiccups.
First weekend, I was madly trying to track down our new tent with absolutely no info coming from the company as to an ETA. So, week of we went ahead and bought a car port from Harbor Freight and some canvas for side walls so we would have something.
So when did our new tent arrive? The day before show opened, so too late to get it set up for first weekend.
We did get it all set up for second weekend, thought we were hot and tired and did not realize it was inside out until it was all up. We left it that way for the show. Last hiccup? We were in our usual spot, but with a larger space it was clear just what an odd hill it was. The tent stayed well, but we were constantly having to accommodate for the lean. Next year, we’re adding a platform and an in-tent fan!
Fall and Spring are always chancy times of year for weather. We’ve been fortunate this year in having better luck than last thus far. But this small faire in April got interesting.
First, creativity with set up. We had not yet received our new tent, so we made something up quickly with two 10 x 10 canopies and a quickly sewn cover. The set up this year was odd. Flow did not make obvious sense. One of the reenactor groups was so far away they seemed like a private encampment. But the crowds on Saturday were decent and people had fun as usual.
Just in time for the evening feat it started to pour down rain. Fortunately the feast is in the big garage building of the fairgrounds. We had a good meal with friends, then decided to pay for a night in a hotel.
Good thing we did. We came back Sunday to find our tent was standing in a lake. The organizers allowed people to move into the large building and use table space for Sunday. So I started opening us up for sales while Nathaniel took down our tent and helped out neighbors.
So for all that the event ended up unusual for a renaissance faire, the move indoors ended up being a good thing. Maybe it was that the vendors were now moved together and easier to find. Maybe it was the small remaining group of people staying closer together and making the building festive. Either way, Sunday went even better than Saturday. So, pouring rain but a good show. Thanks everyone!
Each show has its challenges, but we never expected a hurricane to be one of them. This year, we spent the week leading up to Harvest Faire watching to see if Hurricane Matthew was going to hit near Virginia Beach. It didn’t, but the rain and winds that make up the edge were problem enough.
Still, we were there! Some vendors never showed, but there were still plenty of people around on Friday to make the show worth it. We came well prepared, with side walls and multiple tarps to try and stay as dry as we could.
Friday night was fine, and plenty of people came by, even in the dark. Saturday, as the day went on, the weather got worse. Rain picked up, and the weather report was threatening the coming winds.
The organizers were awesome, and sent people around about 4pm saying that vendors were welcome to pack up if they wanted, and come back Sunday morning. Our work is fine with a bit of damp, but neither leather nor wood is great with a soaking rain. Plus, we did not want to try and stay on site with what the forecast had in store.
So, we packed everything up (thank you friendly helpers!), found a cheap hotel not too far away, and went to stay warm and dry.
Good thing we did, because apparently it hit the site viciously. At 11pm the organizers had canceled Sunday – the site was so beaten up by the weather it would not be able to host traffic the next day.
We came back the next morning, through towns with no power, to pick up the little bit we had left.
Traffic getting home was an adventure due to areas of flooding or no power, but we lost none of our inventory. Just another poor tent.
Which we are still trying to replace. If you can spare a moment and/or a dollar or two, please take a look at our Go Fund Me page. Any little bit helps!
One of the challenges of doing faires and festivals is weather. It is completely out of your control, but your sales can depend on it. It can make a show vary a lot from year to year. So this year, five weekends and only one of them without rain… well, it did not make for a great Virginia Renaissance Faire this year.
We still love our small-ish state renaissance faire. We made great new friends and had a lot of fun. Hopefully next year the weather will be with us again.
As every vendor at conventions, faires, and craft shows knows, sometimes you just don’t have a good weekend. It’s particularly unfortunate, though, when it’s a show you’ve previously done well at.
CSM Renaissance Faire is a small fair we’ve been involved with since it’s first year. It’s on the same weekend as a lot of other possible shows, but we’ve kept doing it because it’s a fun little thing, and turns a nice profit for the cost. Unfortunately, this year was painfully small. From the outside, it does not look like they’ve really even let the college students know that this event is going on on their campus. There were a tiny number of vendors, so really not enough to keep those who did come out around.
We spoke at length after the last day to one of the organizers, and he seems to want to make this show work and be better. The several of us – vendors and entertainers – that stuck around to talk to him all had ideas and volunteered our assistance to see it happen. So, this show sits at “we’ll do it again if he actually takes us up on the assistance. If not, we’re filling our April another way next year.
We added a new fair to our shows this year – Southhampton Renaissance Faire, near Virginia Beach. As an April show, it was still a bit chilly be this was a fun, vibrant weekend fair and great for getting the fair season rolling.
This fair really had a great atmosphere. Lots of vendors happy to be out on a lovely weekend, good crowds, and an entertaining night life. This fair threw one hell of a pot luck feast for people staying on site Saturday night, which was both delicious and an awesome way to hang out with show friends we’ve made over the last couple of years.
The only criticism is that the flow of how they set up the space was kind of bizarre, and we definitely want to be farther from the entrance next year. But this is a firm contender for a regular event for us.
When we were first led to where we would be setting up at this show, I had to laugh. “We should tell people to look for us in the cemetery. This is a first.”
A lot of Hunt Club Farm made me grin. This was their second year holding a Renaissance Faire, but the farm itself has been there quite a while. We started off a tad lost – the farm was easy to find, but where we were setting up wasn’t. I accidentally wandered through the petting zoo, waking up llamas and pigs, before we found someone to lead us to where our spot was.
So, into the Halloween Maze we went, through the old mine shaft and into the graveyard…
It was certainly an unusual space, but made for a fun one. It might not have had as much traffic as some areas, but it had plenty. Especially Saturday, which was an absolutely gorgeous day. Plus we got to visit again with some of our favorite booth neighbors from shows past.
Sunday… well, was not so nice a day. The rain rolled in over night and we spent Sunday cold and wet. Fortunately, cold and wet does not keep “die-hard” rennies away, even at a weekend faire.
Rain does add some complications to any show. Not all inventory does well with the wet, so some items weren’t on display the second day. Plus we had forgotten one canopy top – oops. So we made an emergency run for a tarp to make inside the tents slightly dry. At least not actively being rained on.
All and all, even with the dreary ending, this was a fun faire that I heartily recommend for the future.
Well, it has been a crazy five weeks for us, and mostly in the good way. Almost every week had us hurrying back to our respective studios to make inventory to replace what sold and fill special custom orders. We had some great outfitting team-ups, and while we are enjoying a little bit of a rest we’re already thinking towards next year.
Hello everyone! We’re going a tad nuts at the combined lands of Wyrd and Wired and MalHanch Armouries, and we have been for a couple of weeks. All of it was to get ready for our first bigger show together, all five weekends of the Virginia Renaissance Festival.
First step, the new and improved Red Tent…
Next, bring in the happy customers…
Or just lure colorful characters into the shade as the day gets hot…
Saturday had their highest opening day attendance yet, and it’s always fun to watch the festival crowds. Now to rinse and repeat for the next four weekends! So, stop on by and look for the pretty red tent.
This was the third year of the College of Southern Maryland Renaissance Festival, and our second year as vendors. It’s a tiny show, but we love it. This faire is thrown by the theater department of the College of Southern Maryland, on the front lawn of their performing arts building. Each year the faire centers around multiple performances of a period appropriate play – this year, it was Midsummer Night’s Dream.
We showed up on a cold Saturday, threatening rain. A boon for my cloak sales, but not all that fun to sit in. Still, people were out and about, having fun. The local chapter of the SCA joined in this year, teaching, giving demos, and otherwise adding to the faire feel with their presence. Everything felt just a little more renaissance and festive this year.
Our booth was first in the row, just across from the SCA and in front of the outdoor stage. Which mean we have a great view of the highlights – magic show and Queen Elizabeth are awesome – and lowlights – ouch to blocking with your face, fighting demonstrator – of the faire. And we are right there, bantering with guests and doing our best to the festive air.
This show, tiny as it is and as early as it is, is also a bit of a test market for us. We touch base with friends from the Virginia Renaissance Festival, bring out new items we’ve been making, and encourage people to come to the bigger faires later in the year. It’s free to attend, so next year, take a look for our big red tent and see what’s new!