I felt excited to be out in the world selling my books again. Last year between mid-October when my sister and I returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to DC and when I headed back to California to spend Christmas with family and friends seven weeks later, I did three PowerPoint programs and participated in two holiday craft shows. In fact, I was busy all year long with a similar schedule. This year, nada, zilch, nothing . . . until this weekend in late November.
It’s the Victorian Belles Christmas Bazaar at the events center at Three Rivers Casino on the edge of Florence. This group of talented folks started out as a dozen tole painters and has grown to encompass other types of arts and crafts such as jewelry, ornaments, and many other forms of Christmas décor. Three authors—Karen D. Nichols, Connie Bradley, and myself have been invited to participate year after year. Connie could not make it this year. For me it’s the 10th year to participate and the ninth for Karen. The Belles have been doing this for many years.
It is taking place Friday through Sunday. It’s a marathon for those of us participating. The hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. There are not as many members participating this year. I miss the crocheted and knitted hats, as well as the funky earrings and decorations made by another one of the members. I wore my funky earrings today that I got years ago. They are presents—one red and one green. They are just a little over the top, but I love ‘em!
I also miss the fellow and his family who have the produce concession at the Florence dock area in the summer. They have long been a part of this holiday show with their fresh produce and kettle corn. He also has special salsa, jams, and small pies. All of which I used to buy.
I would spend time checking out every table and display and buy a few gifts as well as some goodies for me. I’ll do my shopping tomorrow.
Yesterday, I spent an hour setting up and then almost an hour tying sets of two books with ribbon and fancy bows. I also tied bundles of three cards. These bundles sell at a reduced price and usually sell well and look festive. My first sale of the day was a bundle of bridge books.
Today folks couldn’t just come into the events center. They, as well as all of us participating in the holiday show, had to go through an identity and health check where a young man took your temperature and photo and checked your ID and made sure you were wearing a mask. It was the most thorough Covid check I’ve encountered since the outbreak began. Casino personnel were in and out of the holiday show all day. Some on a break looking for gifts and others checking to see that mask wearing and social distancing were being adhered to.
The first hour had a fair number of attendees but for several hours it was slow and the last hour very slow. I only sold five books, but at least three people said they would be back today. We’ll see! Folks liked my cards but no buyers.
Typically, Saturday is the big day. But it’s more rigorous to enter this year, and there are social distancing markers all over the floor. I was glad to see folks all wearing masks and wearing them correctly.
I feel excited to be doing one of the events I most enjoy, but also feel guilty to be participating because this type of event is not being allowed right now in the state. The only reason it’s happening at the Casino is because it’s located on sovereign Indian land, which has its own rules. And I’m also a little apprehensive regarding the virus because I converse with lots of people and I’m a high-risk age. But the Casino’s entry health check is reassuring as is the fact that everyone is wearing a mask. So I’ll return on Saturday and enjoy the second day of the Victorian Belles Christmas Bazaar of 2020!