So yesterday was the inaugural street fair in Bartow FL for local authors to promote their works and help fundraise for Bartow's Community Service Center.
And, hoooooo boy, when I say "I survived," I am not kidding.
The event organizers - as part of Main Street Bartow promoting street fairs on weekends to encourage local business and community events - had hoped for a large turnout of customers and costumers, as they had promised a costume contest and pet-friendly activities.
And for the first couple of hours, it wasn't TOO bad, considering how hot and humid the weather can get in central Florida in the middle of May.
By noontime... One big NOPE about being outdoors without air conditioning or even fans/blowers to help cool the tent areas. Even in the tents, covered from the sun, you couldn't get away from the fact the street you were on was turning into an open-air oven. The humidity turned into a brick wall. You couldn't get up to move except for the fact that it was too hot to sit still.
Smarter people than I brought portable or rechargeable cooling fans, only to have their batteries run out. That's how hot it got.
I started plans on designing tent covers with sewn-in solar panels charging up ceiling fans you could mount inside the tent frame. (I've been informed someone may have beaten me to that)
We didn't get the big crowds I've seen for their annual SyFy street conventions in mid-Februarys (and THOSE could get relatively hot and bothersome, but tolerable). Almost no one showed up in costumes, except for one author promoting a fiction work about a zombie war in 19th Century Europe, dressed up in the woolen uniforms of that era. I was amazed that guy didn't collapse from heat stroke.
We did our best to raise money for the community center, but there was little else we could do. Finally, before 3:00PM, the organizers okay'ed an early end to the street fair to let us pack up and flee for air conditioning by 3:30PM.
To Sean and Lori, thank you for hosting, and I am sorry the climate was against us. This would be a fun thing to do for local authors, except we gotta consider better times of the year. Some of the attendees were offering suggestions - my personal one is to build everything in downtown Bartow up to five stories high and install street cover roofs with solar panels to charge up massive F-16 sized blowers mounted at ground level to keep everything air conditioned during these street fairs, but we'll need federal aid for all that - and some of the more practical ones deserve some thought.
With that, sharing a few more photos of people I met at the event and pics from other attendees I'm stealing off Facebook...
|Big hello back to Bill Hatfield, whos been at many of these|
statewide authors events over the years! He's still recovering
from major health issues, best wishes and healthy hugs to him!
These photos were from earlier in the day, when the heat and humidity wasn't wilting everybody in sight.
|That fan was the biggest reason why these authors were smiling on-stage.|
That bottle of water was there in case any of them burst in flames.
These were the other local authors invited to the event. Several of them did dress up as part of the scheduled events - there was a Jane Austen-themed tea party - and the author who dressed up as Anne Rice was kind of the default winner of the "Dress As A Famous Author" contest.
We did our best to print out a big check to the Bartow Community Center!
Big shout out to Marie, my neighbor at that Fountain Lakes apartments so long ago, who was there at the event volunteering for the food vendors and providing overall moral support. You can tell the humidity was getting to me at that point.
So that being all said and done... oh man I need another nap ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz oh right, uh, until the next writers event... KEEP ON TYPING, YOU FIENDS. ZzzzzZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz