Festival Fun

May 31 I had a booth at the Lilac Festival in Calgary. It’s a very, very big street fair and when the weather is nice it often has in excess of 100,000 people. The weather was amazing and there were an astonishing amount of people.

My booth!

The show is the biggest one I’ve done yet and I’m very pleased with how it went. The money was good, the traffic was unbelievable and best of all the things that need fixing – more stock, better displays, better table layout – are things I can actually do.

Booth inside
I did learn a few things about doing this show, in comparison to the smaller (not all of them were much less expensive mind you – just smaller) shows:

  • Canopy, tent or umbrella is necessary. The booth across from us, with jewelry as well, had some very very sunburned vendors by the end of the day
  • People to help you or a smaller setup. Not both. I could not have run this by myself. I would have had to have a much smaller setup to be able to answer questions, help customers and still keep an eye on things.
  • Enough stock in a variety of price points but avoid anything fussy (in terms of change or items – I damaged one expensive piece.). Accept credit cards. Decide what your policy is about bill size (I won’t accept $100s at shows for example). Decide what to do about hagglers.
  • Put your literature at several spots. At times we were too busy for people to get across the booth to find my pamphlets or other business cards or freebies. So I put bowls with these at each end.
  • Bring a first aid kit, office supplies, a toolkit and water. Make sure you know where they are. I usually also bring tools and items to fix or trade out small components but in this show, there was literally no time for that.
  • A good banner is fabulous. Good signage is also fabulous. I was lucky and my cousin made me a banner with my logo and I have the software to do relatively good signage. It was complimented frequently.
  • Smile, be positive, helpful, cheerful, give your neighbours a hand, try to work with the organizers, volunteers and staff as much as you can.

There are a few more pictures of the parade, friends who dropped by on my Flickr. I’m already looking forward to next year!


  1. ColtPixy says:

    I am not surprised that you did well your work is beautiful. I am very glad that it sounds like you had a good time. Your set up and displays look great. The banner looks fabulous!

  2. Lisa Clarke says:

    Looks great! I’m gun-shy about doing shows like that – I don’t have the equipment for an outdoor thing. It would probably be worth my while to look into it, though.

    I like your sign!

  3. Elaine says:

    I had waffled for a couple years about doing the show Lisa and figured I may as well do it. The tent is Mom’s garden gazebo thing rather than a vendors pop up (which I could have rented I guess), all the stools and extra tables were borrowed.

    It was worth doing. I handed out a LOT of cards, leaflets and clay samples if nothing else. Lots of fun.

    If it had been like last year, with torrential downpours and near freezing weather, it wouldn’t have been the same but this year was great.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Being one of the helpers at the Lilac Festival, I have to agree with Elaine it was a blast. I have already signed up for next year.

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