One of the last things you want to do when it’s a blustery day in the mid-40s is to go outside and set up a 10×10 foot canopy tent.

And yet…

And yet that’s what I found myself doing several weekends ago.

A while back, shortly after my birthday, I took the birthday funds that had been earmarked for this exact purpose, and went out to buy myself a canopy tent**. That is to say, a 10 foot by 10 foot tent, with a white top and sides. It is The Art Fair Tent. Go to any outdoor art fair, and you will see a veritable village of these tents, each with its own artist, each with its own artwork inside. You wander up and down aisles of these tents – and you hopefully buy something!

In order to be an artist at such a show, you need to have your own tent to add to the village. And since one of my goals for this year is to participate in several art shows (most of them outdoors!), I needed my own tent. Now, as in anything, quality is all over the place. You can find them for under $100, but from what all my research told me, you’re getting what you pay for, which is basically tissue paper on toothpicks. Then, of course, there are the high end types, made of the best materials and weighted properly and just about anything you could hope for. I think they come with helper gnomes to help you set up, and trust me, helper gnomes don’t come cheap.

But for someone like me, who wants a tent that won’t fall apart if a leaf falls on it, yet doesn’t want to have to sell her car in order to afford one, it leaves a wide middle ground. Especially with it being my first year trying things, my hope was to find something that would be affordable, but not junk. I think I found one, but we’ll see how it holds up.

With the aid of both of my lovely parents, that Sunday a few weeks back was “test the tent” day. We hauled the tent out of its carry bag, got the canopy on, and popped it up. The wind was not helpful here. Not in the slightest. It didn’t even seem that windy, but once you’re attempting to attach sidewalls to an upper canopy, ANY wind is bad wind. It worked, though, and gave me a good idea of things. We also brought some tables up from the basement, along with a good portion of my artwork, and did a mini-trial run.

Art Tent Set-up

NOT a final set-up. Just a wee test run.

And while I’m still nervous, and want to make changes and additions, seeing it all up like that was pretty darn cool. I’m maybe a little excited. Maybe. Just a little.

We took some pictures (obviously) so that I can submit my application for my next show at the end of May. (Done! Hoping to hear back soon.) That’s not very far away!!! There’s work to be done, make no mistake, but everything seems a little less impossible than it did before.

**While there are many venues in which to buy canopy tents, I went with an option that we found right at Sam’s Club. It’s an EZ Up brand, and ran me close to $200. It’s not the bottom of the line, but the next step up, from what I can tell. It’s fairly sturdy, from what I can tell, and I hope it’ll be a good starter tent for me. If I decide after this year that I wish to continue with outdoor shows, I’ll reassess my tent situation.