Festival Time

So…

after two days to refuel and relax it was time to readjust and reload our booth display for the start of the International Quilt Festival. Festival2015-7This year we really didn’t have to make too many changes between Market & Festival. One notable difference was that we switched up our bags so that there was only one of each design in our display which left room for us to bring out samples of several of our older designs. This is an important thing at Festival, where many of our customers are meeting us for the very first time, which means that for them ALL of our designs are new designs.
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And we actually tried something brand new for this Festival. Many of our customers at retail shows have been asking us to offer kit prices for specific designs, but with so many hardware & zipper choices, the prospect seems totally overwhelming. I just didnt see how I could manage it with all the hub-bub of the show.

But then I found out about “In-House Bar Code Generator’s“, and that changed…

EVERYTHING!

This meant I could assign a barcode to a particular kit and not have to worry about memorizing the price or exactly what items would be included for that price. And what was the reaction at Festival?

The Zipper & Hardware kits were a HUGE success, so I think we’ll be keeping this feature as we move through our show season in 2016.Β  πŸ™‚
Festival2015-1So after a great “Preview Night” Wednesday night, opening day on Thursday dawned clear and warm, and the crowds were there to greet us! But then we started hearing that awful “S” word again and by that of course I mean “Storms”.Β  πŸ™‚
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And you know what? The closer we got to the weekend, the more and more ominous those weather reports started to sound!

As a matter of fact, it felt a bit forboding when it started sprinkling on us as we were walking to our hotel on Friday evening.

But nothing… and I do mean NOTHING prepared us for what we saw when we headed downstairs for breakfast on Saturday morning… check it out, at left!

And just so you know… the scene you see above it right outside the front doors to our hotel and it turned out to be an all-too-familiar scene all over downtown!
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As a matter of fact, all the morning newscasters were begging folks to stay home and not even venture out for the day. The incoming roads to the downtown area were already flooding and the buses and taxis weren’t operating! That’s when we realized… Wait a minute…

How will we get to the Convention Center?

So… since staying home was NOT an option for us, we set up a patrol at the front door and at the very first sign of a slack in the deluge, we literally sprinted 2 blocks up to the Hyatt House where we hoped the Quilt Festival bus would still be running and guess what? And WOW, were we thankful to see one pulling up to the curb as we splashed into the bus stop! We were wet, but we were present for the opening bell (and many vendors who had to drive in from some distance were not).

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Now to be perfectly honest, because of the horrible weather I figured Saturday would be a total BUST! As a matter of fact, I had brought some paperwork with me to do just in case it was a total dead zone, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, which all goes to show you…

Quilters are WAY tougher than they’re given credit for!

Sure, the crowd was thinner than normal, but … the ones that were there, were having a GREAT time! It may have been gloom and doom outside… but inside it was nothing short of FESTIVE!Festival2015-11Which makes what happened that afternoon all the stranger!!

After lunch (and I promise I am NOT making this up), we were hit by an out-of-control scooter! I was waiting on a customer at the sales counter in our booth, when I heard screaming and looked up just in time to see one of those mobility scooters came careening thru the grid wallΒ  and into our booth. And let me tell you it must’ve been moving at top speed too, because it moved the entire grid wall (fully loaded w/hardware, patterns & zippers), PLUS 2 trunks that were loaded with our extra hardware) back about 2 feet into our booth. Actually, if not for the amount of weight being pushed, I think she would’ve toppled the grid wall and potentially our neighbor’s booth and seriously hurt someone. Bystanders told me afterward that the scooter was in reverse at the time and that somehow… no one was hit. It took three of us to move the gridwall back into position and surprisingly it survived unscathed. It was shocking to be sure, but within an hour we were laughing about it (hence the little placard my husband is carrying above). It’ll make for a good story in the book I write someday (maybe).Β  πŸ™‚

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So… just so you know, they say Houston received 20+inches of rain on Saturday and Sunday, and that’s ON TOP OF the 15+ inches they got the weekend before with Hurrican Patricia!Β  Sounds unbelievable and i wouldn’t believe it either, except I lived through it!

But in addition to the weather, we’ll remember the 2015 International Quilt Festival as eventful for very other reasons too. Β  πŸ™‚

To be sure, it wasn’t quite as successful as we had hoped, particularly since the first 2 1/2 days were so great… but it certainly could have been oh-so-much-worse in a variety of ways.And we’re thankful for this!

AND…add to that a VERY SCARY near-accident on a rain-soaked highway driving home from the Charlotte airport on Monday, and I can honestly say that we were ever so glad to get back to our home safe and sound!

Now if we can just get our supply pallet home unscathed we’ll close the book on “Eleven Crazy Days in Houston” till 2016.Β  πŸ™‚
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And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

Got any questions for us? And if any of YOU were in Houston for Quilt festival, I’d love to hear how YOU survived the weekend! And stay tuned for our next few posts in this series, because coming up are some of my favorite posts… the Market/Festival Fashion Show and My Favorite Quilts!

And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave these in the space provided below.

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5 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. It sounds like your angels were working overtime for you at this market! Wow! I’m glad you are home again safe and that you were able to take all your ‘adventures’ in stride! Your booth looked really good.

  2. Wow! Those scooters can be scary. I always made my dad turn the speed down on his….he just seemed to like being a “racecar”, it made me nervous. Glad to hear you are safe and sound at home and hopefully the pallet has made it back unscathed also! Definitely looking forward to reading your future posts about these 11 days!

    • I think they should make sure everyone knows how to drive those things before just giving them one. Seriously, if that gal had hit a person instead of my booth, she would have hurt her BAD! πŸ™

  3. I was there, survived the rain, too, but missed the scooter incident. How did you get your supply palette home? I’m considering a booth, gathering information about logistics. Thanks!!