Hockessin Art and Book Fair: A Humorous Recollection

As many of you know, the Hockessin Art and Book Fair concluded its premier yesterday to a resounding success. The place was loaded with independent, small press, self published authors and publishers. Soon it was crawling with visitors too. Over 500 the last I heard. People were actually waiting to get in with their faces pressed up against the glass. Standing around questioning each other about whether it was happening or not. Querying each other every few seconds as to what time they have. Several people exclaiming that they can see people moving around in there.  The crowd gets restless as someone shouts out prematurely that they are opening the doors.

Meanwhile, inside authors and artists were wandering around confused with their ware in hand looking for theirs tables. Suddenly meeting old friends, making new friends, and tittering like little school girls meeting someone they have only heard about. They air was filled with books and prints, and posters and postcards, bookmarks, flyers flying and banners waving. The clatter of boxes, carts, and cartons filling the empty spaces in between screeching chairs and squealing tables.

Elsewhere, in the kitchen the wafting aroma of donuts is starting to slide around corners, which is accompanied by the sound of several people kicking the tin of an uncooperative coffee machine. Still things are rolling along quite nicely considering it’s an inaugural event and an amalgamation of all the better parts of similar events. The committee members and volunteers are poised ready to deal with little hiccups. Yes, there were some hiccups, one of which could be heard droning loudly from the other room as they tried to poke out the gremlins from the mobile speakers system. I was asked to lend my noodle but I wanted no part of that headache for I had a run in with a similar system at the library and failed miserably.

Doors open! Tickets are torn one after another; you could be a winner of five excellent gift baskets. That’s created a stir, no, a din and its getting closer and closer. Patrons start filing into the rooms like a horde of Romans Centurions on the attack. Furtive eyes match moisten lips. I have never seen a larger or longer game of duck, duck, goose in my life.

Suddenly, the first compliment rings out, people are stunned. The rooms are filled with oh’s and ah’s, laughter, and spiritual conversation. Over in the corner massive networking is going down, and elsewhere every twenty seconds the phrase “my card!” chimes up. In the other part of the room, someone can’t believe what they are being told, it has to be repeated. Test subjects are sighted, graphs are shown, and testimonials are recalled for further examination. Then a low, rustling noise is heard. First it’s over there, then over here, and now everywhere; its money, cash to be precise.

Deals are abundant, and smiles abound from the young and not as young. Suddenly, there is a commotion as authors race across the room with newfound gains and spend them on a bucket list books. All day along it goes on like this, money changing hands like at the stock market. The authors brought in their own books, but by the end, they are hauling home someone else’s books. Does this go on with the artists too? I assume so, why wouldn’t it? Of course, artists tend to charge more so perhaps it slower economic growth in the other room.
It’s like Hollywood in here! So many flash bulbs going off people are starting to dance. Smile, you are here to sell your wares. Smile you almost sold your wares. Okay, really smile this time because you sold something. Everyone is a celebrity and rightly so. It takes a lot of dedication getting from the first word to this point. Hey, look there is one of the people you personally invited, but why aren’t they coming over to your table. Just remember the phrase ‘deer in the lights’. They came, be grateful of that and don’t think about how many didn’t come. You might be tempted to buy a year’s worth of toilet paper and use it all in the same day. No, no they missed out, that is there own worst punishment.

The four hours roll by quickly. Tired and weary the authors and artists shout encore! Bring on the new masses, but too much of a good thing you know. Besides there is no one left to hear them. All orders complete, all orders filled. So they start milling around hoping two men and a truck will offer to gently pack everything up for them. Even drop it off at their doorstep and, for them being so awesome today, will do it free of charge. No such luck. The groans ripple through the crowd as they resign themselves to their arduous task. They flew in on the wings of an eagle, but at this moment, it looks very much like a dead albatross.

And soon, as quickly as they came, they go. Nothing but an empty room as a few stalwart volunteers too proud to sneak out unseen stack tables and chairs, wheel them away to some far off closet, probably in Des Moines. Maybe not, but I am sure it felt that far. But wait, shouldn’t something have left been behind; something is always left behind. Ah, a gold travel mug. It’s always a gold travel mug that nobody remembers who it belongs to … except the owner who probably could care less now as they are almost home.

It was my pleasure to sit on the committee that came together to make this day a reality. If I may, I would like to glean some small measure of pride in being part of making it happen. I hope I have made proud those involved as much as they have made me proud. Here’s to next year, which can’t get here fast enough.
    Here I am just before my big sale, you can already see me eyeballing books across the way!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome blog post! That's exactly how I remembered it. :D