Self-Sufficiency Series

Monday, July 28, 2014

Last day of sales

The last day of the event was enjoyable -- brisk sales, moderate weather, cheerful crowd. We sold 29 pieces, a highly respectable number for a Sunday. Older Daughter came with me to the booth and was able to see why her mom returned exhausted every night.

Because Older Daughter wasn't driving, she could take a shot of the beautiful downtown as the bridge flung us over the river (I'm always too busy negotiating lane changes and dealing with merging traffic at this juncture).


The festival site from the bridge.


Shots from the day:

A weird freaky tattoo in the crook of a woman's elbow. (She was particularly proud that the eye would "blink" whenever she opened or closed her forearm.) It never fails to amaze me how many people in Portland are tattooed. I've heard it called Ink City.


Older Daughter took a walk with the camera and found this silver-bodied street performer imitating a statue.


The base of his platform had the following announcement:


She watched, fascinated, as the living statue did some "contact juggling" with up to four balls.





When he was done with his four-hour performance, he packed down -- in slow "robotic" motion -- his box and tips...


...and went away.


She also saw a Jack Sparrow look-alike.


Amusing T-shirts:



(No offense to our LDS neighbors or readers.)



The bands brought dancers. This woman was twirling what looked like leather balls at the end of strings. She was very graceful. Apparently she's called a "fire dancer" because at night the balls can be lit, which must be a beautiful sight.



There were also hoop dancers (three) who looked lovely as they twirled their hoops. Photos don't do them justice.



Older Daughter decided to tie up one of our mini "shot glass" tankards in her funky long earrings, which were pinned into her hair. (It got too heavy so she soon took it out.)


Now compare Older Daughter's pretty ears to this fellow's:


This gentleman told me he has one more eight-inch "stretch" to go and his lobes will be a full inch in width. He had identical gauges in both ears.


This fellow walked into the booth in extremely unique shoes.



The event ended at 7 pm and then came the laborious break-down. Afterward we wanted to visit the famous Voodoo Doughnuts (just a few blocks away)...



...but the line was long and pretty much immobile. We waited five minutes and decided it wasn't worth an hour of our time just to get into the door, especially since we were exhausted. So we went back to our friend's house and crashed.


Shortly after posting this blog post, Older Daughter and I will visit Powell's Books and then head out for the long drive back to Idaho. Can't wait to get home!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fourth day of sales

Well oddly enough I didn't get a lot of noteworthy photos from yesterday. It was busy busy busy! -- but for once Portland wasn't really living up to its unofficial motto to "Keep Portland Weird."

Okay, so there was a little bit of Keeping Portland Weird. Here's a guy dressed up as a beer bottle.


To top that, I stepped outside the event fencing along the riverfront and saw -- no kidding -- a fellow riding a unicycle while dressed up as Darth Vadar and play bagpipes. (Well, why not?) He moved so fast that I was barely able to snap this shot before he'd whizzed by, trailing Scottish music in his wake. Just doing his part to keep Portland weird. And succeeding very well, I might add.


I just took a few random shots here and there. Here's a wince-worthy fellow I met, whose earlobes were stretched out to an amazing degree (also notice the large silver stud in the ear concha -- and I had to look up what that little part of the external ear anatomy was called).


From behind.


Amusing T-shirts:



A neat head of hair (it was dusky when I snapped this so it's not the clearest):


Crowds were thick by mid-day.


In fact, the crowds were so thick that apparently the fire marshal made the decision that the park had reached capacity and no one else was allowed in until an equal number left. I took these following two photos around 5:30 pm when the lines (the folks standing against the chain-link fence) to get into the park were hundreds of feet long.


I talked to a security guard about the lines and he explained about the fire marshal's ruling. "Boy that's going to tick off a bunch of people," I commented. "Yes it is," he agree. I told him "Good luck" and the guard sort of winced and said "Thanks."


However there wasn't any trouble -- not one iota. Apparently Portland folks are quite mellow and understanding of this kind of thing.

By early evening the box in the back of the booth containing overflow stock was empty...


...and I had removed the lowest shelf from one of the shelving units.


An hour later I had removed a second shelf.


Crowds were kinda rowdy by late in the evening but certainly not out of control. That's one highly admirable thing about this event: they have internal security up the whazoo; but more than that, people are here to have fun, not make trouble. That's one of the reasons this show is so enjoyable to do.

I didn't get any more photos but we sold 39 pieces -- not outstanding, but nothing to sneeze at either. So I'll just close with a cartoon Older Daughter found that I thought was hilarious.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Third day of sales

Well yesterday I had an extremely unnerving experience: I was on television.

On Thursday the craft/slash/publicity coordinator for the event asked me if I wanted to be featured during a morning live news feed with a brief interview; she also asked if my booth could be used as a backdrop for an interview with another vendor. With trepidation, I agreed.

I gather much of the media attention for this event occurs on Friday, so I was asked to show up before dawn and get my booth set up (since I break it down every night).


By the time I arrived (5:30 am or so) the news trucks were already set up. There were at least three different stations.




They all had tall antennas set up.


I peeked into one of the news vans at the dazzling space-center-type console.


The interview was with a Matt Johnson with KATU Channel 2 in Portland (he's in the middle). I also photographed the cameraman (left) and the craft coordinator and events publicity person, Chris (right). Matt and the camera man were very very friendly and put me very much at my ease. Poor Chris (who is an angel on earth) had lost her voice and couldn't do much more than whisper, not a good thing if you're the event's publicity person.


After about a half-hour delay, the booth was used as a backdrop to interview another vendor. The woman is Alicia Somebody-or-other and she was extraordinary. Tall, blond, thin, gorgeous, smart... then to top it off, she was one of the nicest people I'd ever met.


You'd think someone blessed with so many gifts would be lofty or snobby, but she wasn't. She was friendly and a hoot, a Tennessean gal who said she had to take French lessons to lose her southern accent in order to anchor.


Here's Alicia's cameraman, filming the interview.



It was fascinating seeing how things happen from the "other side," and it was nice to know that the news people I met were just plain NICE.

I went back to my friend's house for a couple of hours until it was time to open the booth for the day's sales.

Back at the site but before opening, this floating paddleboat museum went down the river...


...toward a raised drawbridge.


What's the old song? "Big wheels keep on turning'..."


Quite an impressive sight.


I also met the fellow who operated that small drone I saw the other day. Turns out the drone has a video camera, and the operator had been hired by the event to video the activities over the five-day run of the show.


Here are the controls. Before the gates opened and the event became crowded, the operator asked permission to swoop the drone low over my booth and photograph the interior.


For obvious reasons the drone can't be brought low when thousands of people are around.



In talking with the operator, I mentioned the large drove that had flown over our house last summer, and he was startled -- very startled -- at hearing it. Despite his little gizmo and what it could (potentially) do, he doesn't like the idea of spying on private citizens. I liked this fellow's attitude.



Anyway, this all happened even before the event opened for the day. Once the crowds started coming through, I was busy! Quite a number of people said they'd seen me on TV, which was kind of freaky.

Amusing T-shirts:





Amusing visitors:


...(including a customer hamming it up)


Really impressive tattoo. I guess.


Here's a young visitor testing one of our miniature "shot glass" tankards (I took it home and washed it afterward).


This woman had such beautiful hairdo that I asked permission to photograph it.


The Portland Police had a visible presence but didn't appear to have much to do except answer questions and be helpful. This is a remarkably well-controlled event with lots of internal security. Over the years I've seen very very few problems.


This reggae/rhythm band had a dancer who had an astounding amount of energy -- she danced on stage to the drums and never stopped.



The band inspired a conga line. No kidding.



It was a very long, long day (especially since I'd been up since 4 am) and I went home exhausted, but I also sold 43 pieces -- so no complaints from me!