Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Helping Hand…

Over the years Gary and I have been involved both as organizers and participants of many festivals and events and, of course, we have visited many more. As vendors we always appreciated when we were treated well and were disappointed when we weren’t. Festivals that treat their vendors and participants well will always be the event of choice for the better vendors. If your festival or event’s revenue is based upon the success of your vendors, treating them well just makes sense! It should play a major part in your event’s vendor marketing program. The Cobourg Rotary Club in their section of the Cobourg Waterfront Festival has taken this treatment to heart and offer their vendors a variety of amenities. Some of them include special vendor parking, booth sitting services and s vendor relaxation area with refreshments. Tenting and electricity are also included as part of their booth fee. By providing these, the club’s Craft Show and Sale always has a long waiting list and they have the “cream” of the crafters participating in their show! The Makers Hand in Picton, offer their vendors a lunch service. While we were visiting this show we saw volunteers go to each vendor and ask for their lunch order. We found out that the volunteer then went back to the in-show cafĂ©, put up the order and then brought it back to the exhibitor. On a short show where selling time is precious, this is a great benefit! I can tell you from experience that these services are really appreciated and good vendors seek out festivals and events that go the extra mile when it come to the treatment of their  vendors. By doing this it’s a win-win situation for everyone, great vendors, equal great events and happy visitors!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Activity Planning…

A while ago, Gary and I visited a festival and were disappointed when we found out the amount of down time we were going to experience if stayed for the whole event. With this particular festival, they had plenty of activities planned for the morning and musical entertainment for the evening but not very much in-between. The type of planning may be acceptable for local residents, but for out-of-town visitors it is a deterrent. Having an interesting array of activities and events, strategically scheduled for the entire day/weekend is critical to a successful event.

When planning an event, organizers should keep in mind who they are trying to attract, and then plan the event/festival accordingly. One event (Mississauga Waterfront Festival) that we visited one year, in my opinion, planned their activities and event to perfection. They had a wide range of interesting events that appeal to their target market. The activities and events were planned in such a way that none interfered with the other. This included timing and just as important, sound interference. Also, the events were planned in such a way that visitors could make their way without having to run to make it in time. This type of scheduling avoids the tension that so often results in angry parents dragging their children from event to event. Judging the reaction of fellow visitors, I could see that they also appreciated the efforts of the organizing committee. Successful festivals always know who their target market is and how to cater to them.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Festival Dining…

To me food and how it’s presented is an important part of how people perceive an event or festival. Part of the festival experience is the food and it’s likely the biggest festival expense for a family. If the food being offered is of poor quality, visitors will think the same of the event. I doubt this is the message that most festival organizers want to send to their attendees! I don’t mean that the food has to be at the gourmet level, but I believe that it must be prepared well and have strong appeal for the whole family. Fortunately local governments and health boards are taking a closer look at outdoor eating facilities and making vendors prepare their food in a more hygienic fashion. This answers the preparation concern, but not the appeal.
Festival organizers should screen potential food vendors very carefully to insure the only reputable operators are allowed to participate. Careful attention should be made to the types of foods being offered. A wide variety is preferable, not only for the people attending but for the vendors themselves.
In addition to hygiene and variety, people are demanding healthier and more nutritional foods. Festivals should be aware of this trend and make sure they are making this type of food available. One food related area, that most festivals miss, is having a decent eating area close to the food vendors. There is nothing more annoying than having to juggle food, drinks, purses and packages or to have to stand up to eat. It is such a simple thing to provide food area seating. I can’t understand why festivals don’t offer this amenity. One of the best examples of how to combine all of these elements is the Winona Peach Festival. At the Winona Peach Festival they have one large food court area. All the food vendors are located in this one area. The food vendors, all of whom are manned and operated by local community and service groups, offer a large variety of wholesome foods. Visitors, after purchasing their food, can take it to a covered eating area! The Winona Peach Festival is a great event to learn from and copy. Good food, at a reasonable price, will always win the hearts of festival visitors!
Finally, I have one further suggestion. When setting up an eating area, festival organizers should include a wash-up facility. I am sure that this is one element that would be very much appreciated by all visitors.