So there you are, at an outdoor show in the middle of July or August and, Baby, it’s sweltering out there! Around my end of the world, the temps are probably hovering around 90 degrees (or more) and the humidity is usually in the 85%+ range. What do you do to manage sitting out there for two full days without dying of heat prostration?
No 1 Rule - Stay hydrated !!!! The best beverage to drink at such times is water but any cool, alcohol-free liquid will help. Caffeinated beverages should be a choice of last resort. (This does create a pottying problem for those of us trying to do shows alone, however.)
No. 2 Rule - Protect yourself from direct sun to the best of your ability. If you are not using a canopy or tent, find an umbrella, use a big hat, etc.
Get some air moving. If you have electricity, be sure to have a large fan with you. I find one placed under the table, blowing on my legs to be quite helpful. There are numerous battery run fans available. Look for them at your local Target or Walmart. When all else fails, pick up a personal-sized battery run fan from your dollar store. They are better than nothing!
Bear in mind, when using a canopy or tent, keeping three sides down will create shade and keep you out of direct sun, BUT, that will also block air flow and increase the temp under that cover. Be sure to determine the direction of any breeze (if there is one) and try to keep the appropriate sides open.
Using one of those “cooling neckties” available at most sporting goods stores and often sold at craft shows and festivals will definitely help and they are good for many hours. They are filled with water absorbing gel and you soak them in water for a specified time and then refrigerate overnight. Tie them around your neck in the morning and they do refresh for most of the day. Don’t have one of these? Using a roll of paper towels, make your own necktie by rolling them into a long tube and dipping it in cool water. Place it around your neck and secure with a large paperclip, pin, etc. Rewet as necessary. Dip a sponge in water (I find the melting ice in the cooler a great source for this.) and cool the back of your neck with it.
Most importantly, dress for such temperatures. We are constantly bombarded with advice to “look professional” at shows, however, there is nothing professional about being well-dressed on the paramedic’s stretcher or dripping with sweat because you are overdressed.. Wear loose fitting, natural fiber clothing that allows air to circulate. If you do a lot of these hot, outdoor shows, consider in investing in some of the tops sold for athletes that have an inner layer that wicks the sweat from the body.
Do not make the mistake of dressing too bare. (Bare does not necessarily equal “cooler.”) I once did a show on an asphalt parking lot in wide open sunshine (before the days of pop-ups) and thought wearing a fairly bare cotton sundress would keep me cool in the 100°+ temperatures that weekend. By mid-day on Saturday, I was extremely sunburned despite 30 SPF sunscreen. I generated heat at that point. I was unable to return on Sunday as I had sun-poisoning. I was barely able to do the mall show that started on Wednesday of that week as clothing was hardly tolerable and I experienced chills for a full week.
Sometimes, just as with rain, you simply need to admit defeat. I have now created my own rule. If the temperature tops 95° before 2 p.m., I go home. I am no longer hanging in there with triple digit temperatures. I’ve let them make me sick more than once and it simply isn’t worth it. Shoppers do not stroll a show when it is that hot. I’ll admit to not really paying much attention to the 40+ juried, high quality crafters at a music festival I attended last weekend. It was simply too hot to wander that area. I was more concerned with finding the next shady concert tent and a cold drink. Hopefully, the next 8 days weren’t as hot. (That was a 10-day event.)
Be sure to know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat prostration. It CAN be dangerous.
Be prepared if you are doing summer shows.
Stay cool, my friends.