Field Notes

Entries Tagged as 'Field Trip'

Field Trip:

Field Trip: Monona County Fair (Part 3)

July 19th, 2010 by Bryan Bedell


mononaIt looks like we may have survived the heat. The building we’re in has two open doors, but configured in such a way so that no breeze can come in. Instead, however this works scientifically, it seemed to trap the heat. We started taking turns going outside to stand in the sun to cool off.

Throughout the afternoon, we had a number of people pass through and say, “Man, they gave you the hottest building!” One of regulars is a boy of 9 or 10, wearing a 4-H shirt and boots, who would come in and ask us pointed question about what we’re selling. “Why does your sign say ‘Iowa and Nebraska & 48 Other States’?” He’d leave, but be right back with more questions in 10 minutes. Last we saw him, he’d made friends with a handful of girls slightly older than him. We figure we’ve been replaced.

The other regular is the small, lawn tractor-driven train that passes outside the door every few minutes. It pulls empty, halved oil barrels on wheels that have been converted into single cars for kids. Every once in awhile its conductor asks them to wave at us and they do.

Every now and again, we’ll take turns wandering, mostly around the animal pens. Had no idea there were that many different kinds of rabbits.

So the sun is dipping now and the clouds have come in, so it’s much more comfortable. We’ve both had our Knights of Columbus meal deal (hamburger, chips and a drink: $3.50) and we’re gearing up for the demolition derby crowd that should be arriving shortly.

More soon.

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Colors · Field Trip:

Field Trip: Monona County Fair (Part 2)

July 16th, 2010 by Bryan Bedell


mononaWe started the morning at the Onawa Cafe, which only takes cash, but you don’t need much of it to get giant plates of hash browns and perfectly-cooked bacon.

Once the County Fair gates opened, we hauled everything in and began setting up. We’re maybe the first overly design-conscious vendors in the whole of county fair history. As such, we spent way too much time tweaking and adjusting and saying to each other, “Does this look centered? We need to make sure everything is symmetrical.”

However extra time it took us didn’t seem to matter much. Most of the action at the fair right now seems to be down at the 4-H building, where the animal competitions are going on. We’ve had just a few people come, bit they’ve all been here to either check out the winning vegetables or talk to the librarian manning the booth next to ours. Understandable, because she’s very nice. She came over to say hello after we were set up. “So what’s your booth all about?” she asked. We told her and showed her some Iowa editions. She said, “That’s neat.” so now we have our first official endorsement. I think her name is Nancy.

Business should pick up later, once the sun goes down and the demolition derby starts. Right now it’s hotter and stickier inside the building than out in the sun. We found a fan and plugged it in and that helped. An older guy wandered in, the guy who apparently the fan belongs to, and said, “This thing shorts out, so watch it.” It just shorted out a second ago, so we’re back to sweating.

More later.

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Colors · Field Trip:

Field Trip: Monona County Fair (Part 1)

July 16th, 2010 by Bryan Bedell

FIELD NOTES’ Steve and Daniel left yesterday for Onawa, IA, home of the Monona (IA) County Fair. Here’s their first report from the road:

mononaWhen Google maps tell you that something is 8 hours away, you’re usually safe to assume that 8 actually means 10. We left Chicago at 9:30 and got in just after 8:00, with just a couple of stops in between. Along the way we saw a rainbow (obligatory rainbow video) and we stopped to take a photo of the Monona County sign along the interstate.

We checked in to the hotel right alongside Interstate 29. Onawa seems like it’s located just smackdab in the midpoint between Council Bluffs and Sioux City and is somewhat larger than you’d expect. Of course most everything closes early (we barely got in for dinner at Suds & Jugs), but even though their lights were out, the storefronts on Onawa’s main street (the widest in the country!) are almost completely full, something that seems like a rarity in the rural Midwest these days.

Before we both dined on Suds & Jugs’ exquisite chicken fingers, we stopped by the Monona County Fair to find out all the details of where we’ll be set up. We parked in the grass and wandered through the rides and the carny-staffed games of chance and into the thick of the fair, bitten by the occasional mosquito along the way. The fair is about a block and a half long. On the side opposite the rides and games, there’s a display of tractors. In between, there are permanently-installed exhibition buildings that house both 4-H projects and vendors. There was a fairly sizable crowd milling around, but most everyone was watching the Outlaw Tractor Pull behind the buildings.


We scoped out the spot they’ve put us in and we think it’ll be perfect. We’ll be sharing a fairly large building with two other attractions: the winning vegetables in the 4-H vegetable growing contest and the Friends of the Onawa Public Library book sales table (which didn’t seem to be staffed). We’re right in between the two, and just across the main thoroughfare from where it looks like they’ll be selling hamburgers, so it’s prime real estate and you can’t miss us. We’ll be setting up early tomorrow and will be there until 10pm, so stop by and say hello.

Steve will obviously edit together a flashy video of the trip once he gets back, but here’s some rough footage if you can’t wait.

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Field Trip · Retail Additions:

A Road Trip and a Rock Show

July 15th, 2010 by Bryan Bedell

We’re packing and shipping County Fair FIELD NOTES as we speak (man, there are a lot of orders, thank you!), but here are two exclusive opportunities to beat the mailman and pick some up in person this weekend:

Just got a call from FN travelling salesmen Steve and Daniel, on their way to set up our extravagant trade show booth at the Monona (IA) County Fair. Right now, they’re getting gas near John Wayne’s birthplace outside Des Moines. Tonight they’ll reluctantly take a pass on Monona’s vibrant nightlife to get an early start at the fair tomorrow. If you find yourself in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa on Friday, stop by our booth and say “hi,” we’re predicting long lines so come early.

Also, if you’re going to the Pitchfork Music Festival here in Chicago to see eight thousand great bands including PAVEMENT and LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, be sure to visit 826 Chicago’s The Boring Store booth for County Fair FN goodness.

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Field Trip · Retail Additions:

FIELD TRIP: Brooklyn

August 11th, 2009 by Michele Seiler

View Michele’s Brooklyn Ramble in a larger map

So a few weeks back, I was in NYC for the fab Capsule Show. FIELD NOTES had a booth there and we met a ton of really cool people and are now carried in a bunch of new stores. So long as I was there I decided to take a trip over the Brooklyn to visit some of our retailers as a follow up to a trip I made in May to stores that carry Field Notes in Manhattan.
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Field Trip:

FIELD TRIP: French Paper Co., Niles, MI

August 6th, 2009 by Bryan Bedell


A FIELD NOTES memo book just isn’t the same without its Dur-O-Tone “Packing Brown Wrap” 80-pound cover, from French Paper Co. To date, all our FIELD NOTES, including the special editions, have featured French Paper covers.

French Paper, located on the St. Joseph River in Niles, Michigan, is a tiny mill by industry standards, but a big name in most designers’ hearts. French’s whole aesthetic (largely based on their long-standing relationship with CSA Design) and their always-up-to-date variety of papers and colors has made them very popular, and their environmental policies have brought them even more attention lately.

With a few generations of paper mill workers on my father’s side, and a designers’ lust for quality paper, I’d been hoping to visit French for years, and last week, while vacationing ten miles away with my in-laws, I decided to give them a call. I was immediately transferred to Brian French, who welcomed me to stop by the next day.
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Field Trip · Retail Additions:

FIELD TRIP: Manhattan

May 28th, 2009 by Michele Seiler

View Michele’s New York Ramble in a larger map

FIELD NOTES at TekserveLast week I headed off to New York City to check out the National Stationery Show. The show is huge and takes two days to really walk the whole thing, which of course, led to terribly mangled feet. But what’s a little pain in the search for knowledge, right?

Since I was in town, I took some time and set off on a tour to meet some of our FIELD NOTES retailers and get some shots of our products in the wild, on store shelves. (You can follow along on the map above)
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