Rainy forecast fails to dampen spirit of Fall Fest vendors

Susan Manzke
Susan and Rebecca trying to stay dry with their art at the Fall Festival.

After shopping at last year’s Fall Fest at Kailhofer’s Greenhouse, I decided I wanted to show my books and artwork there this September. That’s called long-distance planning.

I know I wasn’t the only one who was looking forward to the next season. The owners of the greenhouse had their date set. Same as in 2021, it would take place the Saturday following Labor Day. That meant I’d be setting up my canopy on September 10th. This would be the first time I would take it out for a show without Bob—oh how I miss that man.

Erecting the canopy alone was a possibility, but not the best plan for me. I asked if my daughter Rebecca had time to join me. With both our artistic creations, we’d have plenty to catch the attention of shoppers.

Rebecca felt sorry for me and agreed to join me at the Fall Fest, bringing her creative copper trees, and her husband, my son-in-law, Andy, too.

Of course, all our planning was taking place long before the fest. Since I hadn’t had my things out in public, I had to think about all that I’d need when at a show: tables, chairs, bags, change, and table coverings, among other things—Rebecca had an additional list of needed items, too.

Some of Susan’s alcohol ink tile art.

We had our art boxed up a week in advance. The only thing we couldn’t do was to create a perfect day weather-wise.

I started watching the weekend weather as soon as the ten-day forecast was out—I’m sure a lot of people were watching that forecast right along with me. It looked like our Saturday would be cool, but clear.

Of course, as the days progressed, the weather reports started to change. At first, they said we’d have rain late in the afternoon. The fest ran from 9 until 3. It might sprinkle a little, but we should be safe under the canopy.

As Saturday arrived, the rain prediction had moved forward. It wouldn’t arrive after three. Instead, it would start early that morning.

The car was packed and ready to roll at seven. I hardly had to carry anything. Rebecca and Andy buzzed in and out of my house, gathering up boxes, tables, and assorted paraphernalia without my help.

The sky was overcast, but no rain was falling. So far, so good.

We were set up by eight. Our ‘booth’ sat between a couple selling kettle corn and another couple selling Watkins. Our table with unusual artistic creations stood out.

A closeup of one of Rebecca’s copper trees.

Soon I had a sale—this occurred before the opening of the fest. Rebecca sold some of her trees, too. We were off and running.

Customers showed up early. I think everyone was trying to get in their shopping before rain interrupted our day. (Many people dressed in clothes for a warm day. They ended up uncomfortable because of the cool weather.)

At 10:30, sprinkles started to fall. It wasn’t much to start, so shoppers kept circling the grounds. Many stopped by and complimented us on our work and some even bought items from our tables. Yea!

Rebecca, Andy, and I took turns walking around to check out the other sellers. I ended up coming back with some sweet treats from the Emanuel Lutheran Church bake sale, only to find my daughter, Rachel, and grandson Eli had come up from Sun Prairie to surprise us.

It was after noon when the showers started falling at a faster pace.

Some customers wandered toward their cars.

The crowd thinned out considerably by one. At that point, a few vendors packed up, but not us. When weather radar showed heavier showers heading our way, we packed up, too. This time we had the extra help of Rachel and Eli.

Farmers know that the long-range weather forecast is imperfect yet work plans don’t stop. We all learn quickly that some days we have to punt, but still we continue to make those long-range plans.

My next outing will be inside the Seymour Community High School on Oct. 8. At least, there we won’t have to worry about rain. If rainy weather affects us that day, well, we better start building an ark.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;;