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Friday, September 13, 2013

The Crafty Apple Festival in Chilton, WI

Months ago, our weaving friends Jim and Norma Burkett of Pa and Ma's Rugs had booked a craft show in Chilton called The Crafty Apple.  They take a double space at most craft shows they do, so they invited me to join in with my things to sell and share their space.  How nice was that?

They came up Friday afternoon to spend the weekend at our home.  Pulling in with their full trailer of goodies was pretty easy up our long drive and into the yard and parking next to the motorhome.  We gabbed all afternoon, and then we went out for fish fries at Ethel's Pub here in Chilton.

The weather report didn't look good at all.  It was going to be hot, humid, muggy and scattered thunderstorms in the forecast.   Oh boy...  not my best weather for breathing, and definitely a detriment to the throngs of shoppers due to descend on the small town of Chilton for the event.

Over 120 vendors, food tents and children activities were scheduled to appear.  We had to get up early to do the setup of the booth in our two reserved spots.  Vendor vehicles were permitted in the roadway to unload from 6:30 a.m. setup time until the festival opened at 8 a.m.   We unloaded and set up the canopy in a matter of minutes, but there were a few rain drops threatening from time to time during the unpacking of rugs and setting up tables.  At least we were dry.  Soon the booth was ready for SALES!

I set up a rack of socks, hot pads, scarves and then a table of hats and towels.   
I hung up my personalized sign made by artist friend Juanita Hofstrom  
(her sign-making services are available) 

The shoppers started pouring in and we were busy for the morning with getting sales and talking to customers.  Steve and Jim went over for a quick breakfast run to McDonalds for all of us.  So in between customers, we gulped down greasy breakfasts and sipped from a thermos of coffee. 

A number of people stopped by to see me at the booth.  A blog reader, Donna Boehm and her husband stopped by to visit.  We had not yet met face to face, but they were camping out at High Cliff for the weekend in the site right across from the host site!   Too bad it wasn't the weekend before and we would have met at the park.  It was so nice to meet them in person and gab for a bit. They bought some rugs and went home as Happy Campers.  
Some of the daughters who grew up in our house stopped by too.  They were in Chilton for the festival and had wanted to stop in the house and see the changes we had made, but couldn't stay till after the festival ended. Next time gals, and you can come and wander around your childhood home. 

I handed out a lot of my business cards and let people know I am a "local" in the area available for custom orders of my socks and rugs.  We chatted and visited with various shoppers and just enjoyed the morning at the festival.

I had along my sockknitting machine, and many people stopped to check it out and marveled at how it knit socks.  It helps my sales to see them being made----

Jim and Norma were busy selling their handwoven rugs.  I weave rugs too, of course, but didn't bring any of mine so they could have all the rug customers.  It's amazing how many people mention that "my grandmother used to weave rugs" ....   I am sure there were not THAT many weavers of rugs here in Wisconsin.  In actuality, a lot of people just remember their grandmothers saving rags and making rag balls which were brought to a weaver to make the rugs.  But memories are fickle things.  

Part way through the day, the skies opened up and dumped a pile of rain on our festival!!!!   Oh my, the umbrellas came out as shoppers dashed back to their cars.  There went away all of our customers!

We quickly unfurled the sides and back portion of our booth during the downpour deluge.   I slid the sock machine in closer, as well as the rack of my socks.  The rain poured down, and some shoppers took refuge in our booth.  I told them if they wanted to come out of the rain, they had to buy something!  LOL ... Just kidding.  But really, we did make some sales during the downpour.  

Norma scooted her chair in closer as Jim dropped the side portion of the canopy behind us. 

The rains kept pouring down, 
and Jim was looking for more customers. 
They all went home. 

We were very lucky the winds were not an issue for us.  Jim has the booth corners weighted down with heavy buckets and winched straps.  Some vendors were not as prepared a few of their canopies went flipping over and sending their wares scattering across the way.

The waters were flooding along the gutters of the street we were on.  It was flowing with a steady current past our booth.  All of the table cloth bottoms got wet, and before I knew it, my chair and feet were in the moving water!   My fanny pack of money and cell phone had been hanging off the handle of my chair and just the bottom edge got wet.  OH MY!   I saw them just in time to pick them up and prevent a disaster of ruining my brand new smart phone!

By mid-afternoon, the rains stopped.  Things at the booth were pretty quiet as far as customers.  We dried off some things, rolled up our canopy sides and back panel and started to really feel the HEAT and STEAM of the humid sun-filled afternoon.  EWWWWWWWWW

We were fortunate to have the ONLY booth space along the road with TREES for shade!   As things got hot, we moved our chairs back behind the booth into the shady areas.  By now, I was moving slow and taking it easy.

A newspaper reporter stopped by from the local newspaper and interviewed me and took my photo cranking my sock machine.  We will see if I hit the big time now in the Chilton Times Journal???

Sales were slower now, and although some customers stopped by in the afternoon, I think most of the serious shoppers had gone home to hide from the rain storms.  By 4 p.m. we started to tear down the canopy, put away the remaining inventory, and pack up our stuff.   

Jim's show trailer is very well organized and he has a place for everything.  Steve helped with the heavy stuff of the tear down and helped to stow the gear as Jim recently underwent surgery.  We took it slow as the heat and humidity were stifling.  Here is a shot of Jim's trailer from another festival we went with them....  Quite the organized process, eh?

Once we were done loading up, we melted our bodies into our hot car parked nearby. Whewwwww  it was hot.  But we came back to the house in the coolness of the AC that had been on all day.  Ahhhhh  what a treat!   I had marinated some steaks all day in the fridge, and Steve threw them on the grill.  We whipped up a supper for four tired out folks ... and sat around just gabbing till Steveio did an evening Dilly Bar run to Dairy Queen.   What is a Dilly Bar????   Here is a pic:

 What a cool way to end a hot day?

Sunday morning, Jim and Norma treated us out to a breakfast at The Seven Angels restaurant in Chilton, and they headed back to Beloit, WI .  We loaded up the motorhome and headed out to the Volunteer Jamboree at Point Beach (see my last blog post before this one to read about that)

Oh, we were able to reserve the SAME spots for next year by registering and paying up front for the booths again.  Soooo next year, come see us at the Crafty Apple Festival in Chilton for 2014~!


  1. Looks like it was a fun event despite the rain, and I'd love a dilly bar right about now.

    Everyone sent my grandma old wollen fabric & clothes, which she boiled down and cut into strips. I think her rugs were called "hooked rugs", and they are all in use today by some of her remaining children. She had a gorgeous sense of color, especially bright and bold colors.

  2. The rain sure can dampen spirits as well as table coverings. I remember those days. Hope your sales were great.

  3. I had to chuckle when I read your comment about people telling you their grandmothers were weavers. Well, my grandmother was from Wisconsin and, yes, she also was a weaver. I had no idea she was a weaver, until I purchased a loom so I could learn to weave. My father told me stories about how people would leave bags of clothing & fabric balls on their front porch for his mom to use for rugs. Sadly, no one knows what became of the loom when she passed away.


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