November 5, 2012

Hilltop Arts Festival Recap

Due to a cold a couple of weeks back, the three festivals I planned to attend this autumn became two. However, the Hilltop Arts Festival in Elkmont, AL on Saturday turned out to be much bigger than anyone could have anticipated for a first year event. Organizer Preston Pylant did a great job advertising the event. The weather was near perfect, and there were lots of great food and musical acts, leading to an impressive turn out and much fun had by all.

My booth at the Hilltop Arts Festival. Photo courtesy of Preston Pylant.

This was my first event using the new pop up tent, and I didn't have a helper available for the day. I had shared a booth with another crafter where we used a similar tent of hers last summer, so I knew it took two people to set them up properly. I was a bit nervous about being able to find help setting my tent up, but I shouldn't have been. Craft show vendors seem to be very willing to help one another out, which is one thing that makes attending shows and festivals a lot of fun.

Throughout the day, eleven featured musical acts performed, art classes were held, and children made their own works of art as people milled about the grounds. After the festival was over, and all the vendor booths were torn down, a poetry reading was held at The Red Caboose.

One of the day's musical acts, The Barnstormers, I believe. Photo courtesy of Preston Pylant.
This was only my third event, outside farmer's markets, and it was the closest one to home for me to date. It was interesting and a bit amusing to see the reaction of some people I knew who came by the booth. Some knew I was a soaper, others didn't. My lines have grown considerably since my first two shows, and I had my autumn and Christmas soaps available for the first time this weekend. So even a few who have seen me around did a double take at how many items I had there. (Come back tomorrow for more about the holiday  soaps.) Then there were the people I'd never seen before, but who had encountered my soaps either through gifts, the local stores who carry them, word-of-mouth, or samples I handed out at a few offices in the area when I first started out along with lots of other interesting folks.

What is it about music, good food, and art that makes it so much easier to talk to folks? Long time readers know I've never been comfortable with large groups of people, especially in situations where I'm expected to speak. It's a fact that nearly kept me from taking the leap into opening my store, but I wasn't the least bit nervous this time around.

All in all, this past weekend's festival was a joy. Next year's has already been tentatively scheduled, and I for one am planning to attend again.

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