Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Market Weekend #5: Commerce Occurs

Wow, what a blur! It's always, always that way on the fifth weekend. This is the weekend of shopping, serious shopping. The food court is less crowded, the aisles are more crowded, the crowd sound is a bit more subdued although there are more folks in the room. It helped tremendously that the state refund kicker checks arrived during the week. It seemed like folks were holding out just a bit to find out what kind of bonus cash they'd have to spend. Now they had it, now they were spending it!
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The stage was busy too, lots and lots of groups, especially Sunday. We had three sets with accordions, Sun Bossa, Accordions Anonymous and Apocalypso. We also had back to back renditions of pieces of the Nutcracker Suite, the Accordions Anonymous version and then a Celtic take on it from Tonn Nua. Ah, the little funny coincidences that keep me amused...

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This weekend I'm particularly looking forward to seeing David Bowers on Saturday, and then whatever extremely tasty sillyness Jerry Zybach and Brook Adams have cooked up on Christmas Eve. Oh, and then Americanistan! It's so perfect to close up the Market season with middle eastern dance and music, we've done it for years now. There's something about it that puts the perfect party mood on the last hour of the Market year.

Of course I'm also looking forward to ringing the bell at the end of that hour and closing the place down for another season, all of us heading off for a long winter's nap. But not until we've had our last three days of Market fun, see you there!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Market Weekend #4: My Off Site Market Moment

At the end of a busy Holiday Market weekend, the inside of my brain looks something like this:
Holiday Market 12 09 15.jpg (Thanks to Steven DeLang's display for the perfect illustration)

as I've gone from this:
Holiday Market 12 09 18.jpg adorable Bhangra dancers first thing in the morning,

to this:
Holiday Market 12 09 11.jpg at least seventy glorious women's voices in Soromundi late in the afternoon,

wearing this:
Holiday Market 12 09 04.jpg deliciously uptight 40s frock and deliriously silly Italian straw hat from the 50s complete with a single cherry, apple and pineapple on the hat band. Again my motto, "If it's not funny, it's not fashion," has been liberally applied. And this is all on day two of the weekend, so lots of varieties of excitement have filled my ten hour work days. It all gets to be a spinny blur and the good old Market Moments sometimes get lost in the sensory overload of it all.

Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon in the good old pickup truck, heading down the road to pick up a Christmas tree, with KLCC's Northwest Passage on the radio. Tripp Sommer announces an upcoming piece about Fridays at the Farm, one of our Market members. Wow, how cool! But there's the tree stand, so I peruse the offerings in a leisurely fashion (having by now forgotten all about the radio), buy the tree, and get back in the truck. We have ignition, and fortuitously we also have the Fridays at the Farm piece starting up. (Click here and you can hear it too) I'm only a couple blocks from home, so I listen as I drive, and then sit in the driveway as Rachel McDonald wraps up her sweet piece on Jessica and Melanie and their soap business. By the time it's over, I'm all dissolved. Customers have described how they've been coming back to buy soap from them for years, and how much they appreciate their products. Melanie and Jessica have talked about how much they love the weekly connection with their customers, and how great it is to sell things you make yourself, and how great the whole process is. Just when I need it, lost in the trees and unable to grok the whole forest experience, I am reminded that the stuff I try to convey about Market and how cool it is, and it's handcrafted and it's local and it's got soul is actually not just hype, I haven't fancied it all up into a glitzy advertising fantasy world. It's the real true life experience of other people too, they see it and value it the same way I do. I do know that, really, but it's easy to forget. No matter how much you believe in something, it's always good to have your faith refurbished...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Holiday Market Weekend #3: All Dressed Up, Someplace To Go

Readers of this blog are by now well familiar with the Marketeer clothing obsession. In the Spring, Summer and Fall it's all about the layers or lack thereof as we try to fool Mother Nature and stay comfy in the great outdoors. So it will come as no surprise that retreating from the weather does not release us from our obsession, it only transforms it into something much more festive.

The seed of the Dress Up Day tradition was planted nearly fifteen years back, with a single Pajama Day at the end of the run of Markets, a kind of "we're too tired to get dressed one more time" event. We even had a Best Pajamas contest a couple of times. We pretty much forgot about it for a couple of years and carried on about our business.

Meanwhile, in slightly more modern times, there were half-a-dozen or so of us who liked to wear our better clothes to work for a change. Dressing up a bit is fun, and improves moods and sales. Inevitably the conversations turned from "what are you wearing today?" to "what are you wearing tomorrow?!" We dubbed ourselves the Friends of Fashion, and Dress Up Days were born. Folks are quick to sense a conspiracy, as they'd see the six of us all glittery head-to-toe on one day, swathed in Leopard print the next, and some wanted to play along. We started making a list of themes in advance and printing them in the newsletter. And of course we were reminded to include Pajama Day at the end.

Marketeers, musicians and even regular customers play along as they wish, there are usually a dozen of us who make it in some version of proper style every day. Some days are easy, like Purple Passion

Saturday Market 12 01 15.jpgSaturday Market 12 01 16.jpg

and Hats & Tairas
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and some are more challenging, but more rewarding, like All That Glitters
Holiday Market 11 24 15.jpgHoliday Market 11 24 08.jpg

and the favorite of all, Mythical/Fantasy/Frida Kahlo Day. It started out as just Mythical/Fantasy, but then some of us noticed that we were mutually blessed with the Unibrow, and in homage to the Queen of Unibrows, our fantasy of being Frida Kahlo for a day came true, and continues to every year. We missed our lovely third Frida Kate this year, as she was too sick to come and play, but that didn't stop us!
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Jennifer and Aunty Em also Frida'd along, and there were a sprinkling of elves and fairies as well, like the ever fetching Patty.
Saturday Market 12 02 02.jpgSaturday Market 12 02 05.jpgSaturday Market 12 02 01.jpg

Tomorrow is Wild Wild West Day, so grab your hat, polish your spurs, and come on down to the corral!