We giggled as we headed south. Reading from the 2008 La Quinta Arts Festival info, I had come to the page-long set of directions on how we were to stake our canopy. Good grief, what retired engineer did they turn loose on the staking directions? Usually all the info artists are told is to stake or weight your tent appropriately. But La Quinta told us that we MUST HAVE, 3 foot rebar no smaller then 1/2" in diameter, pounded 30" or more into the ground, tape or pipe clamped or roped (with cotton rope, not plastic rope) to our canopy legs. Good grief, talk about overkill. But once there, we did as directed, pounding away and measuring to be sure we got our rebar deep enough. And still we giggled, in our know-it-all smugness.
Then came the high winds as only a desert can know. Oh man! They weren't a woofin' about high winds. Large paintings flew through the air off of panels, trash cans twirled and the trash redistributed itself around the show. Artists scrambled to secure art and displays, festival goers alternately ducked the flying debris, or helped artists retrieved flying displays, art, and hold on. But the canopies stayed put! Not one went tumbling through the air to take out another canopy, a festival patron, or undefended pottery.
Dave & I looked at each other as the wind chaos flowed around us. We both offered an apology and thanks to whoever devised the staking rules for La Quinta. It was brilliant!
As the summer went on we had a chance to look back at La Quinta's staking instructions with fondness. Our 2008 trip to the Des Moines Art Festival fell just after their 2008 floods, torrential rains, and HIGH winds. The winds were still fierce and our well-weighted canopy swayed as it tried to break free of the 40 lb weights plus! sandbags that sat on each corner.
On asphalt our rebar stakes were useless, so we watched our canopy scutch (a derivative of scoot) along
the ground with each heavy gust, and we dutifully moved it back into place. The show even evacuated the public for a couple of hours while winds blasted through it. Artists were told to button up and hang on.
And so the show season of 2008 went. Heavy winds, flying art, more weights added to canopy legs, one slightly damaged tent…. Summer weather, what a bother.
We hoped for calmer weather in 2009. So far its not been auspicious. The winds found us again at Scottsdale. But we were on asphalt again, no place to pound in stakes, and we knew our 160 lbs of weights might not be enough.
Before the winds came, one kind-clever artist spent much time with his power drill, and kneepads, screwing his fellow artists' canopy legs into the asphalt.
Walking the show on Sunday morn I was amazed at the inventiveness of artists in tying down their tents. When in danger invent!