Can we talk about the weather?
It’s probably safe to say that most people would prefer an ideal weather forecast for the weekend. Mostly sunny, not too hot, not too cold. Perfect for backyard BBQs, beach days, hikes, walks, trips to the park, or maybe even a leisurely stroll through your local arts market? Now, for those Makers set up at the local arts market on a clear, lovely day, one unsettling thing running through the back of their minds (if they are like myself) is “what if it had rained today?” The fact is that many Makers really only have only two good selling days per week at the weekend outdoor markets. So it is never lost on us, how much we depend on these two days to carry us through another week. If those days are rainy, cold, too hot, windy, and the visitors stay home, it can seriously impact our businesses and our livelihood.
On a Friday morning, as I struggle through my usual early-season panic over weather with a bad forecast for Saturday, and a slow off-season to make up for, I often wonder about the other Makers and business owners I know. Are they also anxiously refreshing their weather apps every 5-10 minutes, always hoping for a better outcome, as though we are able to somehow “will” it to improve? (And then stress-eating when the outlook actually gets worse?) And how far out does everyone start looking? The 15 day forecast is like a real roller coaster ride as each day goes by. The days and hours leading up to the rainy day market are especially difficult as I consider all the “what-ifs” and imagine various outcomes. My worrying doesn’t help anything, nor does my ranting about it on social media or texting various friends, telling them how much I need it to be sunny on Saturday.
Once the market day comes and goes, depending on how bad it ends up being, we may just pile it onto our history of “disaster days,” the ones we are able to maybe laugh about later (through tears)? And then we move on, sometimes scrambling to figure out a way to cover expenses, to get through the next week, until once again, Saturday and Sunday come with hopefully a better forecast?
Some legendary disaster days:
The thing we have learned over the years, as far as markets go, is to book as many shows as possible, knowing that some will be great and some...not so good. Battling the weather is part of the Maker lifestyle, especially in New England, and while it sometimes feels like a gamble, the only way to make up for it is to book more shows and work harder. This is the same way New Englanders have always faced the weather.
For those who of you who ever find yourself deciding whether or not to shop at an outdoor market on a rainy day, then yes, I acknowledge that it might not be quite as pleasant as a stroll in the sun, but I will say that the Makers will be there, rain or shine, so happy and thankful for our hearty New England customers who won’t let a little rain (or wind, snow, heat...) stop you from getting out, enjoying the day, and supporting local handmade businesses. Every rainy day sale is especially sweet and appreciated! And who knows? In New England, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.
Cover image: Ashley Procopio at Newburyport Spring Festival