2021 MN State Fair

The “Great Minnesota Get-Back-Together” was awesome! Sure, we had a pretty rainy first weekend, and yes, post-pandemic attendance was down over 40% this year with the fair overall. But despite these challenges, the Glitter Glamper’s business only dropped 13% from 2019! Now, mind you, it feels wrong to even compare this record low post-pandemic year to a record breaking year like 2019. My expectations were set pretty low this year, not only with the uncertainty of fair attendance, but the uncertainty of whether people would even want to allow us to do what we do…which involves touching faces. But, I was still blown away by the love and support of our community! Four of the days we actually topped 2019’s numbers! I’m fairly certain that if we hadn’t had a rained out weekend, we could have topped 2019’s business!! The Glamper survived covid and thrived, and we can’t wait to see what 2022 brings! Until then, here’s a recap of 2021’s Minnesota State Fair!

The Booth

The booth changed a lot this year! Having two years to prepare this time (vs just a couple already jam-packed months in 2019) gave me ample opportunities to dream up fun new additions, as well as a new layout.

Checkout is moved up to the front entrance, and I converted a desk with help from my dad into a display case for unicorn and monster horns.
I made this chandelier out of vintage flashlights!
I made this product display out of vintage suitcases and a night stand I found on the side of the road! (This year I added a few more accessories to our assortment!)
The most boring feature for fairgoers, but I came up with a much better system for tarping off the booth. It came in extremely handy during the storms we had!
Our Paul & Babe photo op has a new forest background now!
I had TONS of new banners made, to take full advantage of all the space on the “cage” doors! These banners have vinyl pockets, allowing me to swap out sample photos at any time!

This side of the booth guests can watch their friends getting blinged out from the fence, keeping the crowds outside our workspace. We also added a hidden exit door in the fence so we can let people out right from the chair, rather than backtracking through the booth.
The main entrance is in the same place, but we have more banners, the checkout moved right up front, and a huge menu hanging above the checkout.

The short end of the booth serves as stroller parking and an exit. Our rope system allows us to control the flow and the amount of bodies inside the booth, ensuring we all have enough space to work and move. It is a vital piece to keep our operation running smoothly!

With the checkout station moved forward, the lineup of customers was also pushed to the outside of the booth…creating more space for artists to work and allowing for some distancing where we could.

Artist Stations

In 2019 the booth was set up to accommodate up to 6 artists at a time. I learned that I didn’t really need that many at once, at least not until we become more known by fairgoers, and artists preferred to have longer shifts anyway. So, this year we cut the number of stations down to 3. We had two artists working early and late in the day, and three during the busier times. We kept going at a good, steady pace with this amount of artists, so we will probably either keep it the same or add one more during busy times in 2022 as the fair’s attendance picks back up.

This is where I personally was set up 11 out of the 12 days of the fair. My barber chair weighs a TON! But we moved it up front this year, because it really draws attention! The cabinets and countertop are vintage…I rescued them from the side of the road and refurbished them in 2019!
I just love this sweet little secretary desk! I found it at a charity store in 2019. It needed repairs that my dad did, and now it’s a great station that can be closed up and put away if we don’t need it. This one was in use the whole time though this year.
Our third station is right out by the fence, so passers-by and parents can watch as people get painted. It is entirely collapsible when we only have two artists working.
Tamina sparkling in our 3rd station! You can see the barber chair station right behind her.
Tricia and some guests working on convincing a guy to get a glitter beard, haha! You can see a strip of clear plastic hanging here. I have clear shower curtains that we can hang up when we have light rain.
I have sheer curtains (with sparkles of course) that we hang when the sun comes in the afternoon, to keep our artists and supplies from baking in the sun!

Wardrobe Improvements!

In 2019 I was just SO overwhelmed and exhausted, it was all I could do to come up with some colorful aprons with my branding on them. This year I was able to have so much more fun with our overall look! Tricia really inspired us all in 2019 to embrace the Glamper’s 50’s style rockabilly branding with her cute dresses, so I bought a few myself on Amazon!

Me, Naomi and Tricia ready to sparkle!
My mom was booth babe for a day…we didn’t even plan on matching! Ha!
There was no “blending in” when we went on breaks, haha!

I didn’t require retro clothing of everyone of course…but I did have a blast stocking up on cute, retro aprons which tied us all together whether we had retro dresses or not!! I cut and ironed on my brand in glittery vinyl, and everyone could wear whatever style they wanted, along with their glittery Glamper hats (or bandana headband) and name tag.

In 2019 it was pretty easy for me to take off my “brand” and go “blend in” with the fairgoers if I wanted to take a break. Not so much this year, haha! I got countless comments wherever I went…one woman asked “Are you doing something special today, or are you just special?” Haha! I told her BOTH! My wardrobe was definitely a conversation starter though and a chance to tell people what we do at the fair!

Team Glamper

We had an awesome “Dream Team” this year! My artists are THE SINGLE BEST PART of the Glamper experience. They are uber talented artist who love what they do, have FUN doing it, and it shows!! As I still struggle to work through the kinks of a new operation, honing in on the right shift lengths and number of artists to try to maximize everyone’s earning potential, I always start out my call for artists by making it very clear that there is no guarantee of any amount of hourly income. Being new, it takes years for people to realize we exist and seek us out (which MANY actually did this year already, coming straight to our booth first!) Fairs ebb and flow with the weather too, and this year, the uncertainty of a post-pandemic world. But these artists are willing to take a chance on me and just have FUN together! So, big profits or not, I try to keep it a comfortable & fun environment, encourage breaks, provide water, snacks, Gatorade & of course CHOCOLATE (If you happen to stop by and see us stuffing our faces with chocolates, never mind us, it’s just “chocolate o’clock” in the Glamper!) This year I added a Keurig machine in the back room as well, which helps on those 12…14….16 hour days!

Tiffany, Naomi, me and my husband Wayde!
Tamina & Lori bringin’ the energy on day 12 when Tricia and I are wiped!
Tamina, Naomi, me and my Mom who was a booth babe for a day!
The stunning Stella in her sparkly glitter freckles!!
Tamina is ALWAYS SHINING from the inside out!
Tricia, Magen & Tamina held down the fort on my one day off! They rocked it, even through an internet outage that left us without the ability to take payments for a bit! Whew!
My friend Sharon was a volunteer booth babe for a day, and modeled this fun butterfly decolletage design!
“Shift pic” with Tricia, Tamina, Lori and Wayde! Oh, and we can’t forget our “beards on-a-stick!” These really helped us catch the eyes of bearded passers-by, haha!
Naomi is just always a joy to have in the booth!

Happy Customers

I was absolutely floored by how many people came straight for our booth this year, planning to get their glitter right away…many of them holding up their phones to show us what they got TWO YEARS AGO! The fact that people are already seeking us out after only being at the fair one year and then having another year to be potentially forgotten about, gives me huge hope for business in the years to come! I have hundreds and hundreds of awesome photos from our booth…here is a tiny drop in the bucket!

Cute couple!! Glitter eyes + Glitter Beard!
Dragonfly bling was new this year!
She loved her kitty face by Stella!
Magen did an awesome job on these new monster eyes!
This guy knows how to rock his bling!
Charlie celebrated 50 years at the fair with a golden beard!! He’s in charge of the West End area where our booth is, and is always smiling!
This group knew exactly what they wanted for this group photo op!
Some gorgeous bling cluster designs!
Glamper superfan…unicorn horn AND unicorn “sparkle sleeve!” I added Sparkle Sleeves as a covid-friendly option that doesn’t involve touching faces!

Team Shenanigans

Oooh the glitterly shenanigans! When I first created this booth my goal was not only to make it a fun place for fairgoers, but just a fun place to hang out with my painty friends! I figured, hey, even if we don’t make a profit for 3 years which people say is the average it takes, at least we’ll just have a big, fun, 12-hour jam with friends every day, haha! And it sure is that! We have a lot of fun, and sometimes get a little silly in our down time. Maybe it’s all the chocolate and fair food we eat…or the glitter we inhale…but fun and goofy-ness is contagious in the Glamper! Haha! Let’s just say, nobody wonders if we love what we do when they step into the Glamper!

Huddling together through severe weather with Tricia & Stella!
Our new buddy from LuLu’s…we pretty much live off their food during the fair!
Tamina won me this unicorn in the Midway! She’s the BEST!! And he’s SO FLUFFY!!!

Yup, we ate it. And yes, it was good. It fueled many more glittery faces, haha! I will never survive a sugar-free or gluten-free diet!

Running back to the booth in the rain with Tricia! Aaaaah!! SEEK SHELTER!
You know what time it is? It’s CHOCOLATE O’CLOCK!!
Just chillaxin’ in my $700 zillion-pound barber chair! Haha!
Posing with REAL princesses!!!
Me and Tricia testing out Paul & Babe!
My dad brought us a bucket of Sweet Martha’s Cookies!!!
Yes, I wear slippers when my feet get sore! But they are SPARKLY so they are allowed, haha!
My awesome husband modeled our light-up “Beardaments” in his glitter beard each day!

Tricia is now saying “Wait! These aren’t ALL of our shenanigans!” I know, I know…gotta leave SOME things to the imagination, hehe! What happens in the Glamper stays in the Glamper! Well, sortof. Unless it’s too tempting to put on social media. 😉 Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page fore more goofy videos of us flossing and other sweet dance moves!

Check out this little video montage from the fair, set to music by Lori and her daughter Becca!

Huge thanks to everyone who came out to support your local artists! We can’t wait to see you all next year, and at your special events between now and then! If you just can’t wait until next summer, feel free to request a quote for us to bring the bling to YOU this year!!

Published by Gretchen

Gretchen Fleener is an author, magazine editor, body painter, and entertainment agent based in Minnesota. She sells face & body art supplies via her online store Paintertainment.com, acts as an entertainer and agent at local events, publishes a body art magazine and teaches at workshops and conventions around the globe.

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