By Curt Swarm
---- — Never thought I’d be a vendor, now I are one. Yep. Living in Mt. Pleasant and witnessing the goings on of the annual Old Threshers Reunion, and observing the flood of vendors that descend on the town, I decided, “I can do this.” Last fall I walked into the Chamber of Commerce office, and plumped down my deposit. And it ain’t cheap either, for a prime space on the Mt. Pleasant square. But it’s for five days of selling, as Old Threshers starts with a parade on Wednesday and runs through Labor Day the following Monday. “If nothing else,” I told myself, “It’ll be an exercise that I can chalk up to experience.”
What do I vend?
Well, my rusty junk sculptures, and framed photographs. I own one of those 10’ x 10’ easy-up canopies. Whoever named them “easy-up” probably never had to set one up in actual conditions. The heat was horrendous. Before Mary and I even had one side up, I was soaked in sweat with my hearing aids squealing. (Moisture drives them nuts.) Removing them, I asked myself, “How important is hearing in this heat?” “Huh?”
The patch of park I had rented was 20’ x 20’, which gave me ample room to display my junk, I mean “art,” and shelter my photography. (Weather doesn’t hurt rust, you know, and adds to the decor of Old Threshers.) As if a predictor of our success, while Mary and I were loading the trailer for the transport of sculptures to the park, we sold a piece right out of the trailer. A passerby couldn’t resist. Noting like getting the ball rolling. We must of looked liked the Clampetts heading for California.
We took steel magnolias, empty ness monsters, spike balls, shovel butts, fighting dogs, cattails, Gothic trellises (gellises), a wheel trellis (wheelis), good ole Auger Dogger, an engine-block bird, as well as numerous framed photographs. (Only two sculptures broke apart during transport, which isn’t bad.) Of course, plenty of ibuprofen for the back was included. Mary says I need to find a lighter hobby, like crocheting.
My biggest concern was bad weather, especially wind. The top to our easy-up was only fastened to the frame with Velcro. As it turned out, wind wasn’t a problem, it was heat. It hit 103 degrees on Friday. Like most of the other vendors, I resorted to a fan. The electrical grid of the park couldn’t handle the load, and power went down. There were some pretty upset vendors, as well as bedraggled Chamber of Commerce people trying to sooth frazzled or fizzled nerves. The staggering heat also kept the crowds at home in air-conditioned comfort. Who could blame them?
But all-in-all, Mary and I did fair, considering it was our first attempt at vending at Old Threshers. We learned lots of things, like bringing frozen bottles of water to quench the thirst, what items sell, and the importance of location. We were situated right beside the funnel cake/smoothie vendor which provided lots of traffic, snacks for us, and additional heat. Great. Many of the other vendors were great people that I enjoyed associating with.
Will we do it again?
We have yet to decide. But it was a positive experience. We met lots of people, had lots of exposure, and survived to vend another day. Oh, yes, as we were loading up the trailer to head home, we sold three more pieces right off the trailer. There’s just something about a trailer full of junk, I mean sculptures, that attract people like a siren.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at (319) 217-0526 or email him at email@example.com.