BASICS YOU SHOULD KNOW FOR SETTING UP AT SHOWS

Buying a tent
Make sure when buying a tent to use at events that you look for a commercial rating. The cheap plastic framed tents do not hold up in wind, and wind is the one thing you cannot control. If you are looking on web sites, use the word CANOPY to find a tent.

Get the 10' X 10' tent
It is most appropriate in size for most event venues.  Make sure it has straight legs, not cantilevered legs.  You also want to make sure the 10' X 10' is canopy size.  Some 8' X 8' tents advertise a 10' X 10' footprint, so don't buy the wrong tent.  You want a 10' X 10' canopy with a 10' X 10' footprint.  8' X 8' tents legs are cantilevered and will not support a sign or banner post. 

A word to the wise
Just so you know, most exhibit spaces are 10' X 10'.  A 12' X 12' tent will not work in most venues, and has a whole different fire code and will haunt you everywhere you go. Trust us and get the 10' X 10' tent.
There are cheap tents available all over the place.  The problem is that a cheap tent and a good tent is about $50.00.  If a tent does not have cross bracing across the middle I would pass on it.  The first good wind and you will be buying another tent.

The tent we have used for years is an EZ-Up tent from Sam's Club or BJ's.  They actually have them there on the floor and you can purchase one and carry it home.  The tent Sam's & BJ's carries has a visor and sides for $200.00. Look for one with a foot plate that acts as a hold down when you put weight on it. Our tents average 6 or 8 years using them about 40 days a year.  I figure if I get 200 event days for $200.00 the tent doesn't owe me anything.

How to set up or take down a tent
Click Here For Printable Instructions On How To Set Up & Take Down Your Tent

Keeping your tent from blowing away
Go to Wal-Mart and buy tent stakes.  Buy the kind that will drive into the holes on the legs of your tent.  You can get 4 for about $3.00, so buy 2 packages so you have 8 stakes.  We also recommend that you buy some ratcheting tie downs (about $10.00 for a pack of 4 decent ones) and an extra package of stakes.  Make sure you buy tie downs that are long enough to reach the top of your tent and angle to your tie down. Figure at least 10 or 12 feet. You may want to find some spiral stakes like you use to chain a dog for your ratcheting tie downs, although it is not necessary.  We have been using standard tent stakes for 10 years, and they work just fine, but will buy spirals next time we need tie down stakes.  If you will be setting up on the street or on concrete, cement builder blocks work great.  Figure 2 per leg to be safe.  They are generally less than a dollar apiece. This will help secure your investment and keep your tent from blowing away or racking in wind.  We also suggest you get a good hammer and keep it with your tent stakes in a tool box or bag so it is all together.

Banners for your tent and exhibit.
We recommend that if you are getting a vinyl banner for your tent, that you get a 3' X 8' banner, so you have room to stretch it with bungees. A 10 foot sign is too big for a 10' tent opening. Make sure it is has grommets. Be sure and give your sign maker time to work! Keep your message short and concise. Call if you have a question and we will help. We also suggest you read the Sign Design FYI before ordering any signs. Basic Sign Design Part 1  Basic Sign Design Part 2

Where to get your banners
We have a great price you won't beat anywhere for a printed 3' X 8' banner with grommets for $99.00!
Call Zee at 239-542-5000 and mention that you are getting it through Event Hobo to get that price.  Zee also has best pricing on printing and other signs.  Give him a call...he is who we use and we highly recommend him!

How to get a great sign holder for about $30.00
We can also show you how to build a sign holder frame out of PVC piping to support your sign for very little money. You will need six 5' lengths of 1" schedule 40 PVC pipe, 3 couplings, & 2 Tees. We will be glad to show you how to assemble it. DO NOT GLUE IT TOGETHER! Click Here For A Diagram Of  The Frame Holder And How To Assemble It.

How to secure your sign
You will also need a bag of bungies (an assorted bag is generally under $10.00), and some small round bungies will balls on the end of them (it looks like a ring of elastic with a ball on it), so you can wrap them around a 1" pipe and a tent post to secure your sign to the tent. They wrap around and into themselves. Any larger equipment supply like Liberty Bell, Harbor Freight, or Northern generally has them.

A cheap bungee holder
For a bungee holder you can use to keep your bungees from tangling like a bunch of mating snakes, get a 3' piece of vented shelving.  You can usually get one close from the scraps at a Home Depot or Lowes.  It doesn't have to be exact.  The shelving will allow you to stretch the bungees and clip them on to keep them untangled and easy to get the one you need. 

Lighting without electricity
If you are going to be doing a show that extends into the night, you will need a Coleman Propane Lantern that you can purchase at Wal-Mart or Ace Hardware.  Be sure you have about a 10' piece of something like clothesline to hang it from that can be brought over the tent frame and tied into the side so you can raise or lower the light from the ground.

Be Safety Proactive
We also advise that you have a Fire Extinguisher.  Most events do not require them, but it is handy to have at home anyway, and can be brought with you at events "just in case."

 

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