I hope everyone had a great holiday!
I have been out of action for a few weeks. Gladsheim was asked to work with the Sons of Norway at the Indianapolis international festival. This was a 4 day show with and extra day of set up (November 18-23)
For those of you who do not know; the Sons of Norway is a cultural heritage group dedicated to preserving Norwegian traditions here in the states. The local chapter has many members that are first or second generation immigrants and are a fantastic group of people to work with. I have learned allot just talking to them.
The international festival is a gathering of cultural clubs in the Indianapolis area. Hundreds of booths were set up with everything from college ethnic clubs to ethnic foods to venders. It is a fun place to visit and try new food and check out the booths for different cultures. I have a step brother who lives in Budapest Hungary so I enjoyed stopping by that booth to see more about where he lives.
This was a particularly challenging show for us because it is indoors and we a small area (for us) to fill. The booth was 10 feet by 20 feet and the event theme was “places that inspire.” So our booth was “Norway land of the Vikings.”
We set up one of my smaller tents in half the booth space and dressed it out with a bed, sea chest, a small table, board games, and small bits of jewelry, a few small hand, my mail coat, weapons, helmets, a chair, and the usual bits. Outside the tent Mandy set up a table with her fiber stuff and had her tablet weaving and sprang looms set up. The rest of the booth the sons of Norway folks had a table set up with information on their group and other bit of interest. All in all a nice little display booth.
Thursday and Friday were special days set aside for the local schools to visit from 10-2. Now that does not sound bad but 4 hours of talking with thousands of kids is tiring especially when you are in turn shoes standing on hard concrete all day. I was wiped out after the first day. I showed kids the tent and answered questions and Mandy showed kids the fiber stuff and answered questions. Lots and lots and lots of questions.
Friday seemed to have more high school kids and luckily Mandy and I were rescued by Dan and Walter who came out to help. We had tons of kids and the guys spent most of the day putting my mail coat on people and then taking it off them. My coat is a bit bigger them most (35 pounds roughly) so it was a bit of a work out for all the guys. Towards the end of the afternoon Mandy had to leave to get the kids from school and the daughter to dance practice and Dan had to leaver around dinner time but Walter and pressed on till closing. Once Mandy left I rearranged her fiber stuff and brought out my shoe making tools.
Saturday, was mostly Walter and me. We were relieved by Mike and Tawny for a few hours to eat and walk around for a bit. It was an exciting day, thousands of people. We were busy almost the entire time. Mike just had shoulder surgery that Wednesday so he and tawny were not able to do the whole day but Walter and I appreciated the relief. I was asked to participate in the parade of nations with one of the ladies from the SONS group. It was a blast to carry to Norwegian flag and parade around the building. There were tons of people taking pictures and several pockets of people yelling for Norway.
It was very exciting to end the parade up on the main stage where awards were given out for different categories. Our booth received the first place ribbon for quality!
Sunday was again very busy. Walter and I were joined by Mandy and my two children Ned and Jill. The kids did their best to help out and Ned taught nine men’s Morris to several kids. After the show we packed up quickly and headed home for rest and dinner.
All in all it was a fantastic time. We met many great people and heard some awesome stories. We picked up many leads on new shows for next year both paying and non-paying but the biggest thing was the blue ribbon. To me the blue ribbon is a tangible example that we are “doing it right”, that we are having a positive impact locally and we are gaining a reputation for excellence.
Thanks to everyone who helped out and to the Sons of Norway for giving us this opportunity to help out.
Participants: Mandy, Ned, Jill and Jim Schutte, Walter Kinzel, Dan Grabski, and Mike and Tawny Piland