(Above: Booth #1615 at the 2013 Buyers Market of American Craft. Click on image to enlarge.)
Steve and I have been preparing for this weekend for quite some time ... and now WE'RE HERE in the Philadelphia Convention Center! Booth #1615 is totally set up and ready for the three days wholesale-only exhibition. I have three diamond shaped signs on the ProPanel booth wall shown on the left of the photo where, when the photo was taken, there is just one. One sign reads: NICHE AWARD FINALIST. One sign reads: MERIT AWARD WINNER. The one had is shown above reads: First time exhibitor.
The convention staff and the Rosen Group staff have been totally WONDERFUL. The unload was actually much, much easier than we'd expected. Plus, we thank those blog readers who, after seeing our "trial run" post from last Sunday, wrote emails suggesting fewer pieces hanging and none resting on the floor ... leaning against the walls. It is a cleaner look.
(Above: Steve by the loaded, rental cargo van.)
Let me back up just a bit. We started this adventure on Wednesday in Columbia. The rental cargo van had more than enough room for everything we'd packed ... the ProPanel booth; carpet; a two drawer file cabinet in which to hide my purse, business cards, invoices, and other "paperwork"; the artwork; and our suitcases. We left after I attended TWO afternoon meetings that were actually scheduled at the same time! We spent the night near Rocky Mount, NC and made it into Philadelphia on Thursday in time for a very informative "first time exhibitor" workshop presented by the show staff.
(Above: View from the Exhibition Office to the large convention floor while set-up was going on. Click on image to enlarge.)
At 8:30 AM this morning we arrived at the back of the Convention Center and pulled up the ramp to the loading docks. There were plenty of staff people to assist with directions and to answer questions. Lots of the exhibitors know one another. Everyone was smiling. It was actually FUN. We were unloaded within forty-five minutes. Steve took the car to the parking garage while I started assembling the walls. By 11:30 we had leisurely completed our tasks, secured a "photo pass", and took pictures!
The photo pass and my "special signage" came from the Show Office. From this upper level location, the view to the convention floor was amazing! The place is so vast that a single camera shot can't take it all in. So, I shot a video; it is on UTube HERE. There are approximately 800 artist booths and more than 6000 people are expected this weekend! I'm excited for the show to open tomorrow!
(Above: China Wedge by Mei Ling Hom. Click on image to enlarge.)
The Philadelphia Convention Center is beautiful and also filled with public art including this fabulous installation under one of the escalators.
(Above: China Wedge, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)
(Above: Neon signs inside the Reading Market. Click on image to enlarge.)
Across the street from the Convention Center's Main Entrance is the Reading Market. It was crowded with lunchtime diners and people doing shopping for the weekend.
(Above: Man with a bundle of fresh flowers buying lunch from an Italian deli at the Reading Market.)
There were too many delicious looking places to eat ... and lots and lots of ethnic food ... from gyros and baklava to pizza and biscotti to chocolate covered pretzels and homemade ice cream to an olive bar and several tanks of really large lobsters in the fish vendors' areas. The colors were only rivaled by the aromas.
(Above: Octopi at the Reading Market.)
There were coffee counters and flower stalls. There was a little shop filled with cook books and even some places with handmade soaps and women's accessories. A tour group went through too. Lots of people were picking out fresh produce too.
(Above: Fresh produce at the Reading Market.)
One this is for sure ... WE WILL NOT STARVE here in Philadelphia. Today we had a late lunch at an Amish deli. Steve said the giant dill pickle was FANTASTIC!
(Above: Steve and his pickle!)