Monday, May 26, 2014

Hail thee Festival day?

Festival Season has begun! In case you missed the updates on all our social media outposts on Sunday of the last weekend we were in Waterdown at the launch of a new local street festival. Many of you were off doing that cottage thing, or freezing your butts off at a campground wondering why every year on May 2-4 weekend you think you should be sleeping in a tent when parts of not too Northern Ontario still have frost overnight.
WE, the ellenoire team of street festival professionals were dragging our weary asses out of bed to round up the last few boxes, banners and labels and other bits and bobs that assist in us schlepping a good representation of the boutique and stuffing it into an attractive, but not too pretentious looking 10x10 tent.

A lot of my readers and followers became customers due to a festival we were set up at. Every year we set up at 3 or more local street festivals. The Dundas ones of course are our biggest ones: The Busker Festival on the first weekend in June and the Cactus Fest on the third weekend in August.
We show up at the Locke Street festival in early September every year, although one year the rain was coming down so heavily while we were trying to pack the loaner pickup truck that we had to call it a day. As you can imagine Bath Bombs and Soap do not travel well in the rain. That was the year that we started packing everything in plastic Rubbermaid tubs.

 There's never a dull moment on a festival weekend. I'm generally exhausted before they start because I do all the ordering (from 3 countries and up to 20 different suppliers) and coordinate those shipments to pass though customs smoothly so all the components of each handmade product is in place on time to get it made, cured, dried, bottled, labeled, packaged and priced. This usually takes 3 weeks before the festival starts.
 A festival crew is usually anywhere between 3 and 8 people which includes regular staff to run the store, while the rest of us are out on a street somewhere. We've helped quite a few students make a few bucks over the years. We have so much fun that they return year after year. We've employed every age from 14-70 years and occasionally I've had my son, or my brother around to help.

This is a funny one from the Busker Fest in 2011, we had only just moved into this temporary location 4 weeks earlier but still had 30 feet of tents out front on time. John was trying to not look up as Tim, in his staff uniform kilt was climbing a pole to retrieve something.

Locally we have become known for a few things in our festival tents. I'm often at one end flipping my curls around showing people how to use curly products to have perfect, frizz free hair. Hey!? If I can have no frizz while working sweaty 12 hour days in a damned tent I can teach ANYONE else to do the same. Tim is generally at other the end spritzing someone with muscle mist or showing how great their hands can feel after a sugar or salt scrub treatment in the laundry tub we use for demos. 
My favourite memory of our scrub tub comes from one year at the Locke street festival. You see, we have a 5 gallon bucket hidden under the sink drain to catch the rinse water from the hand scrub demonstration. On this particularly busy and very hot day the bucket became very full of yucky water. I have very funny picture somewhere of a friend and festival helper holding a 3/4 full bucket of greyish water mixed with a blend of sugar and salt and hand washing dirt etc. The bucket had become known as the "scum bucket" and from that day, our friend was known as "Scumbuckety Iain" 
 If I find the picture, I'll post it. It's a classic exaample of one of our "eboys" as our team of
 male festival staff have become known. 

This past week with the long days at the store and the 12 hour day at the Waterdown festival my feet were quite sore. I woke up for a few days after the festival with painfully swollen hands and feet. Since the doctors have no clue why, and I head for blood tests tomorrow this hideousness has become known as festivalitus. This is not my favourite festival memory, and I may start planning my Hobbit costume for next year. 
I need a pedicure AND I have cankles. Kill me! 

Just for putting up with this awful picture of my tree trucks for ankles you can have 10% off anything mentioned in this post until June 15th. Mention it in the store or use code "hobbit" at checkout on the website.