I’m on my first adventure as a real gypsy. My Uncle Tom has been my sidekick as we conquer this monstrous adventure together. I have a booth at the covered bridge festival in Indiana.
I grew up in Indiana attending these festivals for days at a time. Eating pumpkin ice cream and elephant ears (Everyone should know what those are right?). The Parke county kids get out of school on Friday for the festival and then Monday is a holiday. So this things starts with a shebang!! A whopping 1,000,000 (I just like all the zeros) people will visit these festivals in a ten day time period. You would think the location of such a ginormous event would be in the hub of a big city somewhere. WRONG!! These covered bridge festivals are located about 40 miles from the nearest highway. I mean we are talking no Walmart people! No cell service. No running water. No WiFi. No 4G. Nothing, Nada, zip, zero. People park a mile or so away in mowed down cornfields managed by someone named Jim that charges 5$ for parking…in a cornfield!
This crazy adventure has brought new friends, welcomed appreciation for my art, happy customers, bonding time with my Uncle Tom and free festival food! I am having the time of my life. My whole family has pitched in to make this happen for me. When I paid for the booth space I thought that was it. I had no clue. The booth space I had rented was nothing but a ten by ten spot of gravel on the side of a narrow road. Thankfully my aunt and my mom knew what I needed. They got me a huge tent, tarps, food, cooler, tables, my Dad’s awesome Harley Davidson motorcycle trailer and so much more.
I thought I would have to sleep in my dads trailer on patio furniture cushions. My aunt and my mom came to my rescue and opened up their warm homes, soft beds, food, and even running water! HA! Oh yeah and WiFi! Going without WiFi for nearly 10 hours at the festival is a culture shock to say the least.
A lady a few booths down runs a food truck. She comes down to check on Tom and I everyday. She bought one of my items and came in my tent while I was painting away and said “What kind of self care can I help you with?” This took me aback and I had to think for a moment and run a full body scan. My belly. That was some self care I needed. I asked her for a plate of food in exchange for a chair massage. Thirty minutes later she brought me a beautiful plate of real mushrooms, real wilted spinach, real squash covered in Parmesan cheese. No food had ever tasted better. Being outside in the elements all day will definitely take its toll on a person. I probably ate that in 3 min.
The booth directly to my right is a woman named Rosie in a little shack with a smoker out front. She has been doing this festival for 10 yrs +. Her 7 year old granddaughter had become my little sidekick. She swept the sidewalks and I paid her. I gave her some sidewalk chalk, had her paint a sign for me and we worked on a mandala together that her grandma displayed on her table by the forks and napkins. Rosie brought me over a box full of food! I’m talking 2lbs of pulled pork, two dinner rolls, a huge piece of chicken, and macaroni and cheese!!! I ate the rolls with the pork but couldn’t handle anymore. My uncle Tom tried to have a go at it, but he couldn’t finish it either.
I used to be a quiet little church mouse, uncomfortable in large crowds, intimidated by people, a real introvert. My husband kept telling me that I needed to “get out of my box” aka my comfort zone. With my Uncle Tom helping me and his ever positive attitude I started greeting people with simple hellos. As the day wore on and people were looking at my shirts I began to talk to them. These big, scary, judgmental people were smiling at me and saying how talented I was, admiring my art, complimenting me, blowing my mind. About an hour later my face hurt from smiling. I am in my element.