Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Dread Week Roberts

The Jay's Shave Ice booth from the truck at Artscape.

A few people have asked me if I've been excited about Artscape, our little company's biggest weekend of the year. To be honest, for months I dread this week. So many things to do, so many things to organize and get in line - it's excruciating. This will be our ninth Artscape and it's just painful. The first couple I organized and learned how to put it all together. Then for a few years, Polly and Al took care of organizing it all. Since 2006, I've been back at the helm and hating every moment.

Okay, maybe I'm just being dramatic. Truth is, I'd prefer to be sitting in a hammock, sipping margaritas with a girl way too young for me by my side while two minions gently fan us with big, feather fans. So much for the hammock, margaritas and minions with fans - at least I can have the girl.

But really, I dread the whole process until this evening - after everything has been put in motion and the booth is setup and ready to go, now is the point where I start to enjoy doing Artscape. Tomorrow, our crew comes together to wage the war of ice and syrup once again, while wrestling with hot weather and what the City of Baltimore tells us will be up to 2 million attendees over a three day weekend.

Like war, waging Artscape is a delicate balance between heat and humidity. Too hot and humid and people stay home. Too cool and people want to buy something silly, like coffee. Over the years, I've found that low humidity and a temperature between 80-90F is just right. Everyone comes out, has a great time and buys more shave ice.

And it needs to go right. I've got five digits invested already.

Of course, the skies could open and dump buckets of rain and ruin me. Or a freak tornado could wipe the entire site out and I'll be crying on Skid Row.

Barring those series of unfortunate incidents, you'll find us this weekend at the corner of Mt. Royal Avenue and Cathedral Street once again making the shave ice that made us famous.

June 18, 19 & 20
Mount Royal Avenue
Baltimore, MD