If you're familiar with Excelsior, you're familiar with Art on the Lake. Although I had been to this event before, I had no idea what was in store. In the midst of vendor confirmations and organizing final details I came to the realization that this event is one of the largest events put on in Excelsior. From a planning aspect, Art on the Lake takes a village to prepare for the event, and an army to actually make it happen.
About two weeks before the event we sat down to go through all of the final details. That moment is when I realized this event was much bigger than it seemed. As Laura and Jocelyn rolled through vendors, artists, layouts, and more I couldn't help but watch in awe. It was truly amazing how fast the two were going through each detail, and how they jumped from one thing to another without getting confused. The thing that amazed me most though is how the two didn't even have to finish a sentence for the other one to know exactly what they were going to say. Once you work with someone for so long and do an event so many times it becomes like a second language to you.
Art on the Lake approached quickly, and once it came there was no holding back. This is the type of event that you have to jump full force into, whether you know what you're doing or not. I for one didn't know what to do because this was my first event experience not related to weddings. But all of the sudden I was directing traffic, managing deliveries, and directing vendors to their booth spaces. It's hard to explain, but it really is one of those "learn as you go" type of experiences.
Everything seemed to be going off without a hitch, until Saturday came. Looking up at the sky that day it was clear there was severe weather ahead. At first it was just rain, and even though it wasn't the nicest of days there were still people coming and shopping at Art on the Lake. It was about noon that day when the sky turned black and our lightening detector was flashing those dreaded red lights. It all happened so quickly, but we unfortunately had to pause our event for an hour due to severe weather in the area. If you've ever wondered what bad weather looks like for events keep reading, I'll give you the not so glamorous look inside of events.
To ensure everyone was safe I, along with all of our event staff and volunteers, were running from booth to booth in the pouring rain. We would stop at a booth and let the vendor know the situation, help them put their art in safe places as well as lower their tents, and direct them to the safety shelter or shuttle to bring them back to their cars. After we completed the process at one booth we would move onto the next until all 156+ booths were notified of the situation. We then had to sit in our storm shelter and watch the weather unfold until we were finally given the green light to re-open our event. By that point everyone was soaking wet, I literally had puddles in my shoes. Despite the crummy weather, there were still community members out enjoying the art fair and we still made the most out of our situation.
Sunday on the other hand was incredibly beautiful and thankfully made up for Saturday! The atmosphere in The Commons that day was so fun. It truly is the perfect event for anyone because there's something that appeals to everyone. Whether you're a foodie, love live music, want to grab an adult beverage by the lake, or enjoy looking at the wide variety of art pieces, I'm sure you'll have the best time at Art on the Lake. If you have never been to Art on the Lake or are wondering what is so special about it, check out this short video I made! As always, one event ends and another is right around the corner...I hope to see everyone at the 4th of July!
Moriah Gerber is the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce Intern, bringing you on the inside to learn about the full Chamber experience.