The following is the second part of an article about the Round Top Arts Festival which was posted on May 25, 2009. If you missed Part One, I suggest you read it first.
The Round Top Arts Festival and opening night was not going to be stopped because of rain and some mild discomfort! Food was put out on tables under the big tent and the festivities continued. My friends and I were making the best of the evening when I felt a burning sensation on my legs.
In fact, it felt like my legs were on fire. I looked down and my legs were covered in fire ants. The ants had climbed up my rubber boots and continued up under my broomstick skirt.
If you have ever encountered fire ants you will understand how painful the bites are. Fire ants are sneaky too! My theory is that the ants wait until all are in place, then the head ant screams out the order to bite.
From that point on I was miserable. I couldn’t enjoy my food or my visiting time. I was trying to brush the ants off to no avail. They were biting my stomach, my back, my legs, under my arms. I would have loved to have taken my skirt off right then and there but that would not have been cool. So, I picked the ants off and hoped they would eventually stop biting. Luckily no one else got attacked by ants as badly as I.
Sara and I stayed through the reception and then headed back to Brenham to spend the night. The ants bit me until I was able to change clothes. We put my skirt in the clothes dryer to kill the ants that were still in the material. I couldn’t believe how many ants we found in the dryer filter.
It rained all night.
The next day we got to the festival to check out our art work. We had covered our paintings with plastic sheeting just in case the tent leaked. Our art work was safe, but the floor of our booth was mush. Then we noticed piles of black stuff on the tops of some of our paintings and our display table. What was it?
When we got a closer look, we realized that the fire ants had climbed to higher ground. They made nests on the top of our paintings. UGH! We did not have ant spray and did we really want to spray our paintings with bug spray anyway?
So, we took the paintings away from the tents and brushed the ants and the mounds off. We found some spray and sprayed the legs of our display panels to prevent the ants from climbing again. Then we went on full attack to clear the booth floor of ants. It took awhile.
The ground was so messy and muddy that the festival organizers decided to throw hay down on the wet ground. That way people’s feet wouldn’t get so muddy. That was the day I discovered I am allergic to hay. I had to breathe through my mouth the rest of the weekend.
Since the weather was so bad, the festival was not well attended. Who wanted to get out in this? The artists were all there because we had paid good money for the privilege of showing our work. We hoped we would sell something, anything, to make it worth our while. But, after a while, we didn’t care about the money. We just wanted to get our work home without being damaged by water or mud.
It rained some more. By Sunday afternoon, the field where the artist’s parked their cars became a total mess. Many cars became stuck. Luckily, a local gentleman with a large tractor pulled vehicles out of the muck.
Sara and I made it home in one piece. I was so exhausted that I didn’t even unpack my paintings for a few days. When I finally did I found those pesky ants again. Some ants had even crawled inside the paintings under the glass. So, then I had the fun job of reframing my work.
That was the last year that the Round Top Arts Festival was held outdoors. The next year the festival moved to a giant red metal barn down the road. Why? Outdoor art festivals are a great idea……………….. 🙂