Monday, July 27, 2009

Ann Arbor '09 - July 15-18

It's been a week since I got back from the Ann Arbor show. It was slow getting back in the swing of things, for sure. A four-day show, plus one day for set-up, and another for travel, made this a 6-day excursion.

Just on the heels of the Krasl Art Fair - I was home for one full day, grabbed Mike, and headed out to Ann Arbor, MI. The drive was about 4 hours, but we had to allow an extra hour for the time change (I've been burned on forgetting the time change before, and I know I'm not alone). It was a pretty smooth, uneventful ride, with the exception of passing a long flat-bed truck carrying 4 of these HUGE bears. Pretty hilarious.

We drove into town in the early evening and set up the tent without a hitch. My location was pretty awesome - I was in the State Street Area of the show on Liberty Ave. (there are 4 different art fairs that make up the weekend, I heard nearly 1800 artists altogether). It was very near the Michigan Theater, which is an old, gorgeous movie palace, where the bathrooms and artist break area was. Also on my breaks, I could do some fun shopping (which I always thoroughly enjoy). There were many sidewalk sales (Urban Outfitters has a huge one - everyone knows about it), along with cute vintage stores, etc. I found an awesome ottoman/foot stool that I traded for.

But I get ahead of myself.....we headed over to the University Hotel for the artist's party after setting up the booth on Tuesday. They have an INCREDIBLE artist party. A large table of cheese, fruit, and veggies, a bar area, another large table of main courses, and even a carving station. The room was set up with large, round tables, and Mike and I took some empty seats at the nearest one we could find. Little did we know, we had sat down at the MAYOR's table, which had other interesting characters and a few of the show's directors (pretty funny). The mayor eventually got up and said a few words....interesting to know that Ann Arbor is one of the greenest cities in America, and he discussed current projects, etc. Anyhow, after having a blast, dessert, and maybe a little too much wine, we went back and checked into our hotel, Weber's Inn. This place is really awesome, and I'll stay here every time I do the show. It has pretty cool decor - stained glass windows, very German feel - great service - great restaurant. Our friends, Weener Ware, stayed in the room next to us, so we hung out with them every evening.

The crowds were out all four days in full force, didn't find there were any slow times. The show hours are brutal (10am-9pm). If you figure in waking up, getting to the show in time to set up, and also packing up at the end of each day, they were about 12 hour days. Thankfully, the weather was not too hot, and it was even chilly at times. This was a HUGE contrast to last year's show, when it was about 100 in the shade with dead, heavy air, and my darn back went out on the second day. I did most of the show in massive pain on top of dealing with the intense heat. Needless to say, this year's show seemed like a breeze to me.

Many, many of my artist friends were at the show too, so when I had time and the energy to fight the crowds, I tried visiting with them as well. One of them was Kathy Frey, who makes really intricate and stunning sculptural wire jewelry. She is from Chicago as well, but is making a big move out to Nevada City, California - actually probably as I type this! I wish her much luck and fun on her new life out is a picture of her in her booth at Ann Arbor, and be sure to check out her website.

Other highlights from the show include "The Michael Jackson Guy," and Zingerman's Delicatessen, but I will give them their own blog posts (they deserve it - check back soon!) All in all, I have to say, even though this show is probably the one of the hardest to do, it has been my most successful to date :) I end with a photo of break-down time, 6pm, Saturday evening - aahhhhhhh........

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