Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tales from the Trove - Brigantine Summerfest

I first heard of Brigantine's Summerfest, put on by the Presbyterian Church, when I was opening my business bank account a couple of weeks ago. The person (associate? account manager? I'm not sure) helping me said I should do it because it always attracted a crowd. So, I looked into it and found out it was billed as as flea market. This sort of gave me pause, as my very first show had been a flea market. I sold $20 worth of jewelry, $10 of which was to my mom, and I was the only crafter there. Since then, I'd vowed to never do a flea market again. But this one was just a couple of blocks from my house, and the entry fee was only $40. Despite the nagging feeling that I was making a mistake, I could feel my resolve melting. I decided to give it a try.

The event was to go from 3:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., which was a departure from the usual 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. shows. This meant that the bf and I didn't need to get up at the crack of dawn, which was nice. I took advantage of the free time by sleeping in a little and doing some much-needed housework until noon rolled around and it was time to load the truck. I hadn't been outside all day, and when I took my first step out the door I gasped. The heat was oppressive. I felt a wave of panic and guilt. How could I sit out in that all day? How could I ask the bf to set up in such conditions? Suddenly the easy location and low entrance fee didn't seem as enticing as they once had.

But we had to press on. We loaded up and made our way to the church lawn, setting up our tent between an elderly man selling used toy trucks and a group of women selling the church cookbook. I wondered how these elderly people would fare in the heat and felt a bit chastened.

Sale-wise, it wasn't as bad as I'd expected. I easily made back my fee and then some, thanks, in part, to the patronage of our out-of-town landlord, who was visiting family for the week, and one of the bf's customers. As usual, many shoppers expressed interest in my wares, and several were impressed by the detail work of the totes. Although some said they were too expensive, no one said anything hurtful or out-of-line, and for that I was grateful. At an event where the offerings included half-priced thrift store jewelry and "mystery bags" for $1, it was the best I could have hoped for.

It was strange and a little bit eerie to still be sitting out there as darkness fell. Because of this (and honestly, because of our fatigue), we began breaking down half an hour early. Although I'd consumed only fruit, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a popsicle, and soda all day, I still wasn't hungry.

I'd packed up just about everything when a little girl accompanied by two older little girls approached me and asked if she could still buy something. I said sure, if she saw something she liked. She said she'd wanted a bracelet. I happened to be filling a box of bracelets just then, and began unpacking them so she could have a look. She pointed out the one she wanted, a simple piece made of large, colorful wavy-disc beads. I told her it was $5, and she started counting out coins. She clearly did not have enough, and something in me twisted. This whole business was hard, hard on me and hard on the hordes of little girls who walked by, wanting stuff that their parents wouldn't buy. "It's okay," I said. "I want you to have it." She just looked up at me. "Go ahead, take it!" urged her friends. Then she tried to offer me the coins, but I said she could keep them. "Say thank you!" urged her friends. She did, and then the three of them ran off in an excited flurry.

And that was that.

Next stop Cape May Promenade Craft Show, August 14-15.

No comments: