rain at an outdoor craft fair
Selling Crochet

10 Tips For Handling Rain at an Outdoor Craft Fair

To finish off my Craft Fair Week posts, I thought I would address the scariest part of my upcoming weekend. Rain.

With outdoor craft fairs, you always throw the dice on one MAJOR factor that never comes up elsewhere: the weather. It is one reason that a lot of outdoor fairs are cheaper and sometimes feel “too good to be true.” They are often cheaper because you are required to bring all of your setup equipment and are willing to bring everything for every contingency.

So what does the forecast look like in Northern Colorado this weekend? Scattered showers. 40% chance of rain on Saturday. 60% chance of rain on Sunday. Ugh.

Though this will mean the heat does not scare people away from the outdoor fun, it might mean I have to cover my booth in a hurry if the clouds roll in too fast. I’ve added a few things to my Craft Fair Packing List to prepare.

Here are my 10 Tips for Handling Rain at a Craft Fair.

1. Have a good tent.

A good 10 x 10 canopy is worth the extra money in the long run. It may seem like nothing on those years when you are blessed with perfect weather, but in the rain, you want something strong that keeps out the water. Patch any holes in the canopy, and consider getting a tent with sides.

 

2. Tent anchors are not optional.

Tent anchors of any kind are a MUST HAVE at an outdoor fair. The most horrible craft fair tragedy I have ever seen was a when a downburst hit the park and a vendor had their tent rip out of the ground and throw all of their beautiful paintings every which way.

I have Velcro tent anchors that wrap around the poles. They are filled with sand, rocks, or even 2-liter bottles of water.

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In a pinch, go buy 4 or 8 gallons of water in jugs and zip tie them to the base of your poles. Whatever you choose, make sure they are attached to the tent. Just setting around the base won’t do the job when that big gust comes out of nowhere.

3. Bring shower curtains and trash bags.

When that rain starts, you will want to cover up your inventory. If you pack a few dollar store shower curtains (the plastic ones) and some big black trash bags, you will be ready to either sweep your crocheted critters into the bags to stay dry or throw a shower curtain over the table.

 

Anything you leave overnight, you will need to cover in something stronger, like a tarp that is staked down to keep it from blowing away.

Which brings me to the next thing…

rain at an outdoor craft fair

 

4. Weigh down your display.

Tablecloth clips are great most of the time, but also consider that any tall shelves, signs, or dress dummies are going to blow over as well.ย  There are lots of options for weights on the bases of signs. And some of these things you might already have around.

  • Bean bags (like from your kids’ toss game or your husband’s Cornhole board)
  • Balloon weights (like the ones your find at the party store)
  • Rocks (You could even have your kids paint them if you want.)
  • Pattern weights. If you sew, you may have some of these lying around, but they are also easy to make and you can even make them to match your decor! Here is a cool tutorial to make stylish weights out of washers.

Here’s a possibility: Work cinder blocks into your display. If you usually have flimsy shelves, consider making shelves out of cinder blocks and covering them so they double as table weights. But make sure you tables can hold up to their weight also.

5. Plan on cleaning up.

If it does rain, no amount of tarps, weights, or speedy getaways will allow you to just pop back into business again without some cleanup. So plan ahead.

  • Bring towels. Lots of towels.
  • Paper towels are great for blotting up puddles or water out of fabric.
  • Bring repair kits for your product. Things might break of the wind knocks them over.

6. Don’t put everything out.

If you know that a storm is coming, don’t put out all of your inventory. You will be scrambling to scoop it all up as the drops start to fall. If you have the ability, keep some of your inventory under your tables where it is safe.

free downloadable craft fair packing list

7. Bring a change of clothes.

I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH! Throw a bag in your car that has a change of clothes, including socks and shoes, and a hairbrush. Trust me. It beats a wet bum and wet feet.

8. Plan on being a shelter in a storm.

When it starts to rain, people will naturally gravitate to the nearest booth to stay dry. Plan onย  having some standing room in your booth so that you can be the shelter needed, and maybe even have a few extra trash bags to make into ponchos for shoppers as you wait for the rain to pass.

9. Have a Rain Sale!

Stormy weather has chased away a great deal (or all) of your shoppers and you are left with months worth of inventory. What do you do? Have a rain sale on your online store, on Facebook, or on Instagram! Post items at a discount only good for the day of the rained-out fair and keep selling in any weather.

10. Don’t lose your sense of humor.

If you are about to get wet at a fair, the least productive thing you can do is get mad. The weather won’t care how much work you put in or about your sales goals. And nothing will stop the rain. So just be prepared, and if it happens, take a deep breath of that wonderful-smelling air and keep smiling.

With your tent weighted down and holding out the water, your inventory covered and safe, and your contingency plan in place, you are ready to face the weather. Wish me luck at my outdoor fair this weekend! And good luck at yours.

 

Yarn on,

Kati

 

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5 Comments

    • Carissa

      Hi Katie!

      Thanks for the great tips!! My first pop up shop/fair is this weekend, and of course, rain is in the forecast! ๐Ÿ™

      I feel better after reading your article, knowing that we have most of these items to be prepared. The only thing we do not have is sides on our easy up tent. We do have weights /anchors to hold it down though.

      What type of tent /sides do you recommend on a budget?

      Thank you!! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Carissa

      • Kati Brown

        On a budget, I would just make sure you have towels, maybe a tarp or two in case it rains. I have often thrown a tarp over one table and scooped the rest of my stuff into their rubbermaid tubs under the table and then just waited out the rain. Sides are better and easier, but just having a fast way to cover things works well too.

  • Janelle Wehmeyer

    Also, if the top of your tent tends to sag, get some foam pool noodles from the dollar store and fold them and prop them up in each top corner. I just did a show last weekend where dozens of tents were totaled due to rain water collecting on top and folding them in.

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