Good morning to everyone. Each day, I look for the topic to write about. With the feeling of fall in the air...it reminded me of a Pumpkin Festival that I and a partner had signed up to do many years ago.
We weren't the most savvy of crafters back in the beginning days. We did make Halloween jewelry out of bread dough and it was a really good seller. Along with all the other jewelry we made...we read about this 10 day Pumpkin Festival down in Arthur Illinois. Now, I had gone to the town previously and to the area where Rockone Gardens is and thought it was a charming town with cute shops to see and some fun things to do. Knowing that, we decided that a Pumpkin Festival might just be the right thing...and a 10 day festival...well, we assumed that meant a really big event. We sent in the paperwork along with our entrance fee. You could do all 10 days or pick and choose the days you wanted to do the show. We decided to do the last weekend Friday through Sunday.
That Friday morning we packed our car at 3 in the morning and we were on our way. We stopped off for a bite to eat and figured we would get there by 7. That would give us enough time to set up our display. Well, this was a trip began with a bang. We arrived in the town and just kept driving through looking for signs of a Pumpkin Festival. Surely, we thought, we would know it if we saw it. When we reached the outskirts of the town where there were no longer cars, but horse and buggy, we assumed we had missed it...although we had no idea how!
We turned the van around and drove back. Still no signs of a Festival. I told my partner to stop, I got our and went into the train depot to ask about it. I figured they would be able to direct us. When I asked where the Pumpkin Festival was...their answer was :HERE"...I just looked and in bewilderment repeated....:HERE?" Well, I must tell you, there was not one other crafter there setting up. The wind was howling away and we had no idea what to do. When we asked where we should set up...they answered with "Anywhere You want"! We decided we would walk around a bit and maybe wait until some others came...only that never happened. When we were inside of a floral shop and they found out how far we had traveled and that we were there for the pumpkin festival, I think they felt sorry for us. They told us to set up in front of their shop, because they get the most traffic in town. So we set up, but the winds were so drastic that it swayed the canvas walls so badly we were afraid they would snap the poles and crash through their windows, so shortly after putting it up we took it down.
We decided to go into town to get some lunch, and then go to the Rockone Gardens to spend the day. We hypostasized that perhaps the crafters probably just do the Saturday and Sundays.
So we went to lunch. Small little place...all was fine, food was good. When we got back into the car we had a bit of company...a bee. The bee made my partner gone berserk, she was screaming and yelling and consequently tore her zipper in her pants, we had to search for the suitcases, get her a new pair of pants to put on, but that was simple enough...and next, off we went to Rockome Gardens...which was absolutely wonderful. They had a demonstration going on about how to weave straw into ornaments...now what crafter wouldn't enjoy that. After a full day, we went to the hotel to clean up when I noticed that right outside our door was this wheat field. Jackpot! I decided to go and cut down some wheat in the field for us to weave. While I was cutting away, this rat ran over my feet. Okay, I had had enough excitement for the day. Grabbed what I had cut and left. Now we needed to soak all the wheat before we could weave it, so, I turned on the bathtub and placed the wheat in the tub. In the meantime, my partner called me out to look at something. We got so caught up in it that I forgot about the water running in the tub and flooded the bathroom. The next thing I knew, we were cleaning the bathroom floor.
Once that fiasco was over we decided to go to this rather famous chicken place for dinner. Well, it was late by now and we had to wait over an hour for the chicken. I was salivating over the prospect of this wonderful dinner and when it finally came...it was horrible. It was over done, dry and just plain awful. I couldn't imagine how a day could go so wrong. We went back to the hotel room and I was glad to have my head finally hit the pillow. Tomorrow would be a better day I prayed.
Saturday morning, we got up, got ready, and got to the area to see whether anyone else was there setting up...and BINGO, there was another person setting up their booth. We had guessed right. They must only come on Saturday. So we choose the spot right next ot them and started setting up our tent and walls of jewelry. Well, after all was said and done...we were the only 2 tents there. The winds were even more horrific that I pulled my station wagon behind the tent and we tied it down to the car. We sat in this cold, with winds whipping every where for 1/2 of the day and only made one $8.00 sale. I was so done by then, we decided to pack up and leave and not even worry about Sunday...all I wanted to do was go home.
Now along the trip home, I noticed along the highway these beautiful flowers that I thought might be great to try and dry and use in some floral arrangements. We pulled over to the side of the highway and I took my pocket knife and climbed down this slight hill to where the flowers were. My partner stayed behind with the car. As I was cutting away, I heard my partner calling my name....I told her in a minute. She repeated my name only a little sterner this time. When I turned to look at her and respond, there stood a State Trooper who proceeded to tell me what I was doing was against the law. I couldn't believe my ears...I told him I was only picking flowers! He told me that I needed to leave. Well, little blonde me...just looked at him and asked whether I could just finish doing that section. His look told me all I needed to know...I climbed back up the hill and got into the car. Off we went. That guy followed us for miles and miles. I am sure he figured I might stop again along the way. Well, we kept on driving, although I was disappointed, he didn't give me a ticket. Half the way along, the muffler went on the car. I thought great...I have lost all this money...between the entrance fee, the hotels fees, all the money for food, the cost of Rockome Gardens, the gas and now I would have to get a new muffler. We made a whopping $8.00 and were splitting that. I never looked at another Pumpkin festival again. That was a day from Hell and never want to go back there again. I swear, when I look back on that day, I often wonder whether there was a full moon out that night, because whatever could have gone wrong....DID. But something good in the end came out of it...I got myself a story.
So we did. We put together these PVC pipes with connectors that forms three connected walls from top to bottom. We had these specially sewn canvas walls with pockets sewn into them that our jewelry could tuck into because they were all on a tent shaped card. By the time we got it all set up, the wind had picked up something awful and the canvas was acting like a sail on a boat. We were frightened that the pipes might snap and go right through the store owners window, so after a quick discussion, we took it all down. We decided that perhaps, most of the crafters would come in for the Saturday and Sunday crowds.
I told my partner about Rockome Gardens and what a nice place it was...we could go get lunch and go there to spend the rest of the day.