Sunday dawned with blue skies and the promise of a much warmer day! We did have a short scare when some fog blew over the Fairgrounds, but fortunately it left almost as quickly as it arrived.
Walking around on Sunday morning before the Fair opens is relaxing, one of the things I love about this volunteer gig. Took care of some clean up with my signs and then started snapping photos! The low sun shining thru the big tree on the Main Lawn is a favorite view thru my lens. The empty rows rolling past the vendor booths whisper for foot and wagon traffic; the sign of a successful event.
Gates open, the crowd is smaller on Sunday. It’s a peaceful day, for a moment. Wheels roll past on the pavement as the chatter of excited shoppers begins to rise. My goal for the day was to walk the rows in order, not zig zag the way I did it Saturday; of course the plan was to wait for buying until later in the day, but I ended my walk with a small flat in one arm and my camera in the other!
Artwork sparkles in the sunshine, and the plants are plentiful. Conversations are easy early in the day. I checked in with a grower that brought in some plants for me, and talked to a few artists, calling out comments to some in passing about some of the photos I have taken. My thoughts were “Sunday is going to be a good day!”
Cheerful shoppers, friends and family walk around us. Parents and kids walk together, I saw several families chatting away, and my family came by too. For Hubby’s mom we chose a beautiful fuchsia basket for her patio, and my granddaughter was walking around with a big grin, holding a pepper plant she had talked her dad into buying.
As the day grew later, the air was warm enough to shed the coats I had been wearing every day since the set-up began. What a pleasure the sun is! Vendors and volunteers look a bit bedraggled by mid-afternoon, and we all start to think about the tasks ahead; putting it all away for another year. Putting on this event is a much bigger job than I had ever realized as a shopper.
I usually had Hubby drive me over with my wagon. I would walk the rows, choosing my plants for the year then walk the few blocks home. It seemed like Sunday was a better day to go, less crowds if I got there early enough. But it would really depend on the weather which day I chose to attend. I don’t believe I ever had to shop in the rain. The real work for me then was planting my new purchases when I got home. I never dreamed that many of the people I walked past all those years would later become friends.
Around 3:15 it’s obvious that things are winding down. Rumors of a vendor selling all their hanging baskets for $20.00 circulate among the Master Gardeners. The vendors begin to line up their trucks in anticipation of loading up and leaving. My job is to collect all the signs that I put up around the grounds. I have a helper for this task, which was really nice after two long days of walking around. We drive the cart around the late shoppers. Each sign we take down makes the grounds look less like ours; for two days now it has been home to the Clackamas County Master Gardeners. I enjoy staying busy, and pitching in when there is work to be done. I think that is why I like taking care of the signs. I do take most the photos for the group, and help with the webpage and more … but when it comes to hands-on projects, I am usually just taking pics. On Sunday afternoon I feel like I am really part of the group, not just a recorder in the wings, and doing my share of what needs to be done.
By 6:00 most of the vendors are gone, and its just us left to tie up loose ends. We smile tired smiles at one another, because we know the job we have done really makes a difference; to the vendors that offer their wares, to the shoppers looking for that special plant, or just the begonia that they get every year from that vendor in row A. In a world of changes and fast pace living, our “little” Spring Fair is an event our shoppers have come to count on for a relaxing time; from buying plants to learning more about gardening, to the simple fellowship with like minded people. Remember, we are all friends here!
Now there is more to the story, as there always is. Let the pictures tell their tale …. as we close the gates on the 28th Annual Spring Garden Fair. We have the memories, and the plants to prove we were here!
(if you click the first photo a carousel will open to view the images larger)
I want to thank my family and my friends for all the support you give me, allowing me to give so much to this event. I will see you all next year, May 4 and 5, 2013
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