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Wednesday, January 23

Arts in the Park

Well, the folks in Richmond cashed my checks, so I guess show #1 is a go. That makes us happy, we like this one a lot and it's fun to start the season a little early in a place that is already warm.

This show is held in a lovely park in the city of Richmond, Va. (link to the right). There are lovely houses along the perimeter and one of them opens its terrace to us for breakfast in the morning. (If you want to witness a miracle, check out the middle-aged artists becoming sprinters when the coffee and doughnuts come out.) They have the best parking experts I've ever seen, a few guys who are really funny and good at what they do, get twice as many vans parked along the circle than you would think possible. They tell you "don't look, just do what I say" and it works. Everyone gets to unload near their spots.

The show meanders through the park, around the carillon tower and into the woods. Our first year there we were under the trees which I thought was cool and lovely, but turns out there is a layer of mulch on the ground that sends up a fine cloud of dust. It ruined my books and cards. We spent the whole night cleaning what we could with sticky tape an inch at a time. Nightmare. The next day we had everything in ziplock bags which gave them all the charm of meat loaf sandwiches and our sales were dismal. The next year I asked to be moved away from there and they graciously accommodated us.

There is a nice diversity of work here, a lot of fine craft and some traditional. Makes for a fun show to visit. And if a lot of people visit, that's good for the artists.

The downside? It is almost always held the same weekend as NASCAR which makes getting a hotel either impossible or so expensive it makes no sense to go. One year we backed out because we couldn't find a place to stay. This year I found a hotel first, then applied.

The people of Richmond are friendly and accommodating. We get a lot of teasing about snow and we meet a lot of expatriates from upstate NY. Our sales are usually pretty good. I'm happy.

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