This weekend was Midsommarfest, the annual street fair in my (ancestrally Swedish) neighborhood. The theater where I work was supposed to have a table there in a booth with a few other nonprofits, a “Fliers! T-shirts! Raffle tickets!” kind of thing. Saturday morning we arrived at the nonprofit booth to find that several other neighborhood nonprofits had already arranged their displays and wares on all available table space. Holding armfuls of merchandise and papers, plus a hollow plastic hen (receptacle for all completed raffle tickets), I was troubled. A large, glossy-tan booming-voiced man from a local community counsel declared, “Didn’t y’all hear? We only get half a table each this year.” The three other nonprofits looked around sheepishly. I adopted a deer-in-headlights look. An elderly man and woman from the Edgewater Historical Society started slowly condensing their large science-fair-sized display into one half of a table. The elderly fellow pointed at my companion, a young red-haired man with a rolling suitcase full of t-shirts. “The girl can stay. No room for you though.” We chuckled like he was kidding and set up, moving piles of fliers and raffle tickets slightly left and slightly right as though square centimeters were the last food on the island.
I found two reps from the event company running the street fair. They were approximately 16 years old and wearing shiny lip gloss and tight t-shirts with the name of the event company on them. They had another space for us, a large space. But no canopy. As it was approximately 100 degrees in bright sunlight, this too was troubling. Especially since we’d paid for a space with a canopy, being fair-skinned theater wimps. But we packed our things, moved them to Space 2, a luxuriously large space. A patch of pavement with a beat-up folding table in it. Home. Without a roof. A half-hour later, the sixteen year-olds returned with a canopy that they’d borrowed from the people running some of the concerts, a bright blue overheard tent called “family-style gazebo” on the vinyl zip case. Sweet. For the next four hours, we were lounging amidst the glory of Midsommarfest.
But this was a 2-day street fair. And there were thunderstorms overnight. And we arrived Sunday morning to find that our borrowed, blue family-style gazebo had completely bent and blown up against the side of the Alamo Shoe Store. It was still raining and storming, we were again carrying armfuls of supplies, and now our loaner roof was in a tangle of angular metal and canvas.
Kevin had volunteered to help me carry stuff over that morning, and I bet he immediately regretted it, because we were then stuck trying to track down those sixteen year-olds to tell them, Yo. This tent. It’s busted. And we don’t know whose it is.
Two hours later, the rains had mostly stopped and we were back in the nonprofit booth. The Edgewater Historical Society hadn’t shown up for day 2. So we could have the whole table. At 1pm, I made an executive decision to simply go home. I only went back to the street fair that night, for a margarita and to listen to Hairbanger’s Ball sing that song about pouring some sugar on me.