What Keeps Show Staff Busy
on Setup Day?
Setup days are very long days for Show Staff,
usually lasting up to 12 hours or longer, or until everything
is done and the Show can open. After each area is completely
set-up, staff members all pitch in to help each other finish
up. A very good humored, friendly, cooperative, and supportive
staff makes it all easy.
Nancy and Carol enjoy setting up
the Shopping Mart for you!
On set-up day staff person, Nancy Morrissey
is on the loading dock early to check-in our valued exhibitors.
After that, she's off to set up the Make It/Take It and FREE
Lecture areas. Next, she sets up the Show office area, free literature
table, best booth ballots, the ever-famous door prize table,
ticket-taker table, Hubby Corner and the Show program table.
Sounds like a lot of work, but it has to be easier than her previous
occupation. (Imagine 25 kids in one room for 6 hours.) Yes, you
guessed it - Nancy was a teacher! As her areas are complete,
she helps with the set-up of other areas in the exhibit hall.
As the Show opens, Nancy directs security, helps volunteers,
oversees our Guild ticket takers and answers attendee questions.
She is also known as the "voice" of CATS because she
makes announcements and gives away wonderful door prizes, all
with the help of a microphone of course.
The ticket area involves unloading several
trunks full of supplies. The ticket desk opens about an hour
before the Shopping Mart opens. Members do not have to purchase
tickets, and are allowed to enter the Mart one (1) hour before
the general public. The ticket booth is open to sell tickets,
so that attendees will be prepared when they are allowed to enter
and will not have flashbacks of long lines at Disney World. This
is definitely an area where we have to work quickly, as there
is a long line of anxious people that cannot wait to get in and
shop, shop, shop! It is also nice to see attendees bring their
spouse or significant other along. Whether it is to help pick
out merchandise or just carry the bags, they are always welcome.
Member / Student Services
For the most part, this is the first
place a Student or Member will come to, upon arriving at the
Show. They arrive excited, enthusiastic and in a rush to be off
to their classes. Here they pick up their name badges. Members
also receive Member pins, "Keepsake Kash" to spend
in the souvenir booth and all the other benefits that come with
Membership. This is also an area where you can sign up for a
Cleo having fun with the Concession
personnel. I wonder what she ordered?
Stitching is hard work and requires sustenance
to keep those fingers and brains going. Generally, sustenance
is very high on a stitcher's list, usually right after stitching!
The food available at the shows varies from stadium-type fare
like hot dogs, nachos and sodas to soup, salads and lattes depending
on the facility, city and distance from the Shopping Mart. At
the Mart itself, the stitcher will find lunch type or munchie
food like chips, cookies, hot dogs, and drinks. The hotel is
usually attached or very convenient to the Mart. At the hotel
a stitcher can find coffee shop dining as well as more formal
restaurants. Hence the reason we all come home weighing 10 lbs
more than when we left!
The Show also offers three events that
include dining. The Progressive Sampler is a sit-down dinner
and stitching event on Thursday evening. On Friday night the
Show Partners host a themed banquet that is both fun and filling.
The high dining experience is second only to the entertaining
interactive program presented after dessert. Saturday morning
a buffet breakfast is served prior to a stitching session. Each
menu is selected by Show Staff with you in mind.
How is the Showcase Organized?
The Showcase is
an opportunity for the you to display your needlework. Some entries
may be published designs, sometimes the published designs have
a different twist or often the stitcher's original design. It
ís exciting to see the pride and joy each stitcher has
when their work is displayed! Each entry is judged by local guild
judges but it is a "friendly" judging - emitting praise
with positive comments and suggestions for improvement.
Once the Showcase trunks are delivered to
the Showcase area by the set up crew, Jo Lee begins the layout
of the easels and major display tables. The biggest challenge
in the Showcase is to guess how many pieces we might receive
and getting the entries placed on easels. If the entries aren't
suitable to place on easels, they are placed in a covered display
or on display tables. Guild members triple check to make absolutely
sure that each piece is properly identified and secured. If too
many entries are received in the final hour, it puts a real push
on the judges and makes the setup staff scramble at the last
minute to adjust the easel spacing or tabletop displays. Why
do we have to scramble? We want the Showcase opening to be on
time. However, if too many entries come in late we are scurrying
around to make sure that you are able to enter the display on
time. We know how anxious you are to see your piece or friends
piece proudly displayed!
From the very beginning of the Festival
week, Showcase Coordinator, Jo Lee Tarbell, meets with the local
Guild members to update them on the how each entry is received
and reviews the evaluation form used by Judges. Once stitchers
arrive with their entries, they are logged by number in a master
list book, on the display piece and on the evaluation form. Judges
are not aware of the person's name. They only see the entry number.
The entries that are accepted are then placed on easels or in
Some entries are not displayed. For example,
many stitchers bring in their pieces just to have them critiqued
by the Guild judges. They may not be properly framed or even
finished. One entrant asked that her piece be removed during
the Festival because once the spotlight was placed on the easel
to highlight her piece, a major flaw became evident. She was
so embarrassed she wanted it removed.
Two special prizes are awarded: Judge's
Choice and People's Choice. The judges pick their favorite entry
and you, the People, vote for your favorite - each winning a
special ribbon and a basket brimming with Anchor products!
Showcase entries are just as different
as the people who stitch them. They may be a first piece stitched
to a winning floral masterpiece that used every DMC color. (That
winner won every Anchor cotton floss color, so she can stitch
it again!) We have had entries from men in almost every Festival
city and ladies they are outstanding! Everyone enjoys the entries
from children ñ they are all winners! Husbands often encourage
their wives to enter their work, many even help deliver the stitchery.
One dear husband was so anxious to please his wife he had her
work framed while she was out of the country - only problem was
one of the pieces wasn't finished being stitched! The framer
noticed that a few stitches weren't finished but her husband
told the framer, "Sheíll never notice". Ha!
Entries even come from far away places. The entry that has come
the farthest was from England - hand carried of course, on the
plane and it was a winner!
also have the privilege to travel with the winning entries from
the PieceWork Magazine Sampler contest. They are breathtaking
and most inspiring!
feature of the Showcase is the Kreinik Holiday Ornament Contest.
2001winner, Kathy Gursky of Los Alamos, NM, gets a great big
kiss from her husband
he found out she won the contest!
So put some love in your stitches and bring
your piece to the next Festival Showcase.You'll be a winner in
When you can't possibly fit
one more thing into your shopping bag, it ís time to head
to class or one of the special Festival events! You've been giving
your attention to the first Cross Stitch Festival ring of entertainment,
the Shopping Mart. But there's much more to our Show. In an upcoming,
month we'll shine the spotlight on the Festival's classes and
events. Don't miss experiencing the other two rings of the Greatest
Show on Earth, the Cross Stitch Festival sponsored by the Creative
Arts & Textiles Show!
Birmingham and Terri Katis are about half-way through with teardown
of the Lorri Birmingham booth.
Lane with J & S Craft Stands finishes packing the last box
and then it's off to pack the truck!
As the final hour of the Show approaches,
tear down begins. Imagine moving your office 6 times a year ...
that's what we do! Tear down doesn't take as long as set-up.
Everything is placed back into its own trunk, box, etc. Well, almost everything gets back into the correct container.
Then all freight is transported to the loading dock where our
setup crew places everything on pallets and then it is loaded
on the CATS tractor-trailer. While most items are ready to travel
on to the next Show location, some trunks go back to the Main
Office for restocking. All of the Show staff works together really
well. When one area is packed, we move on to another area that
needs help. This continues until everything is packed and on
its way to the next Festival site. Once we begin loading the
tractor-trailer, you can often hear our setup crew saying "It
won't fit!" They often say the same thing as we are loading
the truck for each Show. And guess what . . . it always does!
For More Information,
The Cross Stitch
& Textiles Show
For the most recent
information about the needlework industry, sign up on the CATS
website to receive their PawPrint Newsletter. And
come join the fun at these upcoming Festival locations:
Riverside, CA - August 16-18, 2001
Lancaster, PA - September 27-29, 2001
Minneapolis, MN - October 25-27, 2001
And in 2002:
April 25-27 - Charleston, South Carolina
May 16-18 - Dallas, Texas
August 15-17 - Riverside, California
September 5-7 - Des Moines, Iowa
September 26-28 - Lancaster, Pennsylvania
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part of this feature story nor
the included designs can be reproduced or distributed in any
form (including electronic) or used as a teaching tool without
the prior written permission of the CARON Collection Ltd. or
the featured designers or contributors.