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"!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

There Must Be A Reason… (Part Two)


Many event organizers believe that they need vendors to enhance their event. This, however, is only true if they have planned vendor sales as part of their festival’s program. Anything less than this is irresponsible! Most vendors are small entrepreneurial business people who “live” and “die” by their sales. Poor sales can be disastrous!  There are enough uncontrollable elements that can affect their sales. They don’t need poor planning and apathetic organizers adding to these elements! Careful planning and intelligent promotion is a must! Festival organizers should make sure that if they are going to have a vendors’ section that it is well thought out and that they attract the right mix of vendors. Vendors, on the other hand, should know as much about the festival or event as possible and then asked a lot probing questions. Only then, once they are satisfied with what they have read and heard, should they agree to participate.

On a final note to organizers, if your festival runs into weather related problems and the financial results are poor, please remember your vendors. Most festivals are run by volunteers and are non-profit. If the festival loses money, there is no financial lose to the volunteers. On the other hand, weather can ruin vendors financially, especially if they have to pay large festival fees on top of their traveling and out of pocket expenses. Try to preplan a policy that takes these vendor losses into consideration. I know you don’t have a legal responsibility to help them, but I believe you have a moral responsibility to minimize their losses. Besides, I think it’s good business in the long run. Good hard-working vendors are hard to kind and keep!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

There Must Be A Reason… (Part One)

It always amazes me when we go to a festival or event and find vendors that shouldn’t be there. I don’t mean that it’s the vendors fault. They are only going where they think the money is! Most of the vendors who go to these events are novices. However, when they don’t make any money or possibly lose some, they quickly learn, the hard way, to ask more questions from event organizers before they sign on the dotted line! Frankly, I think organizers who insist on having a vendors’ section even though it has no benefit to the event are misguided and are likely novices themselves!  Without proper planning and marketing, vendor sections are doomed to failure! Vendors participate in festivals and events to sell their products and to make money! If an event is going to ask vendors to participate, the organizers need to provide the type of atmosphere that is conducive to buyers buying. 

(To be continued in Part Two)

Thursday, June 18, 2020

What’s In A Name? (Part 2)


The Calgary Stampede started out as just an idea many years ago and now the whole city becomes involved. If you are not wearing a Stetson during the Stampede people will look at you strangely.  The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is the same. Most everyone there gets into the spirit of the event. Yes, these are larger established events, but it’s the spirit that matters and the residents of these communities have the spirit! I believe that is why they have had such great success. I can remember as a kid during Christmas, our village became totally engrossed in Christmas decorating. Doors were decorated, trees and houses were totally lite up with Christmas lights and most lawns had Christmas displays. People took pride in their homes and their community and it showed. People from all over flocked to our community just to see what the village residents had done. This tradition happened year after year and droves of people returned each year. It may seem like you have enough to do just organizing your event, but the positive benefits of having your community become “the event” will pay huge dividends in both the number of visitors and the dollars spent. The more interesting you can make your event, the better your event will become. Attention to details, large and small, is important to successful events!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

What’s In A Name? (Part 1)

I like visiting festivals that have a theme. The theme gives me a better idea of what to expect. I like it even better when a whole community becomes involved in the theme! This is especially true of festivals that have a theme that can be easily embraced by the community. A pumpkin festival, for example, makes a great theme and allows residents and businesses to easily become involved. Residents can create scarecrows and put them on their lawns and in their windows. They can carve scary pumpkins and put them on their front porches. Business can decorate their buildings and business windows. They and their employees can dress up to add excitement to the theme. The festival committee can encourage participation by offering prizes for involvement. Local media can become involved by enthusiastically promoting the theme. It’s a domino effect that keeps building with momentum.

(Continued in Part 2)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Crowd Control…


A few years ago, Gary and I went to Upper Canada Village for an 1812 re-enactment battle. The battle took place on a large open field and the audience was able to watch the battle while sitting on the side of a shaded hill. It was a perfect theatre. The field was “roped off” to prevent onlookers from wandering onto the battle grounds and joining the battle. We arrived in plenty of time to get a good viewing area. Additional people arrived even after the start of the battle. As the hillside filled up and more onlookers came to watch the re-enactment, they started taking spots at the rope barrier. They stood there to watch the activities. Soon the complete barrier line was filled with people! The people who had planned their time and who had come early to get a good viewing spot had their view blocked by the late comers up front! I can’t understand the mentality of people who arrive late for an event and then think they have the right to block the view of those who came early. Frankly, I find this type of behavior rude and unacceptable! What is even worse is the most festivals and events allow this to happen and then don’t take any action to prevent or correct it! Fortunately, this was not the case at the Upper Canada Village re-enactment! As soon as the announcer noticed what was happening, he stopped describing the battle and asked the people up front to move away from the rope barrier and take places on the hill. The press who were taking photographs were allowed to stay but were asked sit down on the ground and to keep a low profile. My congratulations to the organizers of Upper Canada Village re-enactment! I can only hope that more organizers will take action against the few rude and annoying people who consider it their right to come late and then get a front seat view!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Vendors Talk… (Part 2)


Successful vendors are willing to pay “fair” booth fees. More money to go back into the community! And remember, attendees and vendors TALK! Attendees tell their friends and their friends tell their friends! It’s called the “rippling effect”. Bad news travels fast! As for vendors, they also talk. Vendors love to network. This may come as a surprise to some festival organizers, but vendors, especially the more experienced ones, talk to one another regularly! They know which festivals are the best to attend for sales. They know which festivals treat their vendors well and who treat them poorly! Any festival that wants to become and stay successful should be acutely aware of these realities and plan their festivals accordingly! Here are our vendor friendly five tips:
1.    Provide a “booth sitting” service
2.    Provide vendor only washrooms and a clean-up area
3.    Provide “food delivery” service
4.    Have a rest area for vendors and their staff where they can relax and snooze in peace
5.    Provide vendor only parking areas

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Vendors Talk… (Part 1)

A some time ago, Gary and I had dinner with friends of ours. They were in town (Cobourg) to attend the Cobourg Highland Games as vendors. During our meal the conversation naturally turned to festivals and how they treat their vendors. Our friends commented on how differently each event treats their vendors. Some treat vendors as partners, while others treat them as a necessary evil! As a vendor I certainly know which festivals I would be selling my merchandise at! I believe that if a festival or event is going to have merchants as part of the event, they should attract the very best and then treat them like gold! They are the ones who pay the booth fees and attract the crowds to the events! For many festivals they are the main attraction! Festival organizers should realize that the better the quality of vendors they have at their event, the more people they will attract. It’s a big circle! Good vendors attract good attendees. Great vendors attract great and more attendees! Ones who will be willing to spend money! The more people spend, the more vendors earn. The more the vendors earn, the more an event can charge them.

(to be continued in Part 2)

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Survival…


I was reading an article in a US newspaper that had bold headlines reading “Festivals across US downsize or cancel because of economy “. The reasons given were the reduction or elimination of sponsorship dollars, higher costs and fewer attendees. Both corporations and attendees are feeling the economic pinch, falling sales for corporations and higher gasoline costs for attendees. For many people the cost of getting there is just becoming too expensive. With costs increasing for festivals, organizers have to take a much closer look at their budgets and profitability. Even though many festivals are organized and managed by non-profit organizations, excess monies are usually invested back into organization’s community. Members of the organization usually throw themselves into a festival project because of the charitable factor. Without profits, many groups are now re-evaluating their role. Some, as the newspaper article says, are downsizing while others are simply canceling. Rather than “throwing in the towel” and giving up, these groups should re-evaluate themselves and find innovative ways to grow and prosper. For me, this doesn’t mean increasing the admission costs or the booth fees. It means taking an honest comprehensive look at all aspects and then coming up with responsible solutions. The first few years may not produce high profits, but hard work, time and intelligent perseverance will. Remember everything is cyclical and the economy will bounce back, but if you leave the game or diminish your product (festival) everyone will lose! Festivals are an intricate and vital part of every community! What your group does now and how it responds to the challenges of today WILL affect tomorrow.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Change… (Part Two)


Most banquets are still using the same fundraising formula that was used when I entered the business! Today’s banquet proceeds and attendance is considerably down. I am not advocating that change has to be done on a wholesale basis. I think that evaluation of your event regularly and then comparing it to today’s realities is important and necessary! Looking into the future and planning for it is just smart business! Consider all the corporations that no longer exist because they couldn’t accept change and embrace it!

 There is a major, very successful event in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, the K-W Oktoberfest. I was at a conference where the Executive Director talked about his festival and how they developed a new 5-year plan. He told us that they did this re-evaluation regularly and that they were in the process of revamping their volunteer program. It wasn’t because their program and volunteers were bad; actually, it was quite the contrary. Their volunteer program was second to none! It is just that they wanted to offer their patrons and visitors a Disney-like experience. To accomplish this, it meant re-educating and re-focusing their volunteers. A huge task, but well worth it!
Festivals and events are a major part of all our communities and far too important to wither up and die!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Change… (Part One)



Gary and I were watching an interview with the president of USAC (United States Auto Club). The interviewer asked the president how he was going to improve USAC. His reply was simple. They were going to have to change, to appeal to more people, to appeal to different demographic groups. 

This interview started me thinking about festivals and events. I remembered a conversation that I was part of. It happened a few years ago. We were talking about the future direction of a major festival. One of the principal organizers thought for a moment about the direction of his portion of the festival and then said, “You know, we’ve been pretty successful over the years, I don’t see any need for change.” In his mind this was absolutely true. His portion of the festival is still going, but, in my mind, it seems to be losing the vitality it had a number of years ago. I wonder of how many other festival and event organizers refuse to consider change as part of the management process? I believe too many! I worked in the wildlife conservation banquet business for over 20 years.

To be continued in Part Two...

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Washroom Facilities… Part 2


The following is a list of my top washroom facilities “pet peeves”:
  1. Poorly located facilities, especially for visitors who need to use the facilities frequently
  2. Too few washrooms for the size of the event
  3. Lack of or no disabled facilities
  4. Unclean and poorly maintained facilities
  5. No wash-up stations
  6. Poorly stocked facilities (toilet paper, water, towels, soap, etc.)
Organizers should make sure they inspect the washroom facilities that they are renting to ensure that they are good quality and reflect the quality of the event. They should also insist on frequent clean out, even if it costs a little more. Finally, organizers should ask for references and check them out. Remember these washroom facilities are an intricate part of your festivals reputation.

Having washroom high on your priority list will pay big dividends. If it works for Disney, it will work for you. Your visitors will appreciate your efforts!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Washroom Facilities… Part 1

Why do washroom facilities for a lot of festivals and events seem to be an after thought? It is very disappointing to find poorly placed and badly maintained and equipped facilities! It is almost as though event organizers are embarrassed that they have to provide washroom facilities! They place them in out of the way locations, not taking into consideration those who need them the most. It’s like they don’t want the washroom facilities to interfere with the rest of the festival! I have been told that Disney Parks place a great deal of attention to their facilities. Only senior trained staff is allowed to maintain their facilities. They realize that clean washroom well stocked washroom facilities reflect their entire operation! So, if it such a high priority to Disney, why isn’t it important to most Ontario festival and event organizers? This is such an easy way to win the hearts and loyalty of the patrons!

Continued in Part 2... 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Our Grandson… Part 2


Some attractions do it naturally, like the Toronto Zoo. Others have traditions where the two come together, such as the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) or the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, but the planned combination festivals are truly special! I think one of the best events that we have attended for this combination is the Mississauga Waterfront Festival (2007). Its activities offered a wide range for all visitors. For the children, the Kid’s Stage feature Barney and Friends plus a cast of other children entertainers. For adults, there was an Ojibwa Storyteller, Native Dancers and Chinese Arts performers. Their greatest achievement, however, was in combining activities that appealed to both groups. these activities included the McCann Super Dogs, the West Coast Lumberjack Show, the Jet Ski Stunt Show and the Skyriders Trampoline Show. I believe that most festivals should be for the whole family to enjoy. Festivals that accomplish this well will win the festival visitor “sweepstakes!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Our Grandson… Part 1

Some time ago, I had the opportunity to speak with a gentleman about an antique boat cruise company he operated. The conversation turned from boats to events. He was telling me about a classic boat and car show that taking place in August in Rosseau. He had read our article about the Antique and Classic Boat Show held in Gravenhurst, and that I had attended it with our Grandson. He suggested that the new show would be great for our Grandson. This started me thinking about the “kid” friendly shows we had visited and that we would visit in the future. There is something wonderful about festivals and events that can cater to both adults and children alike, and do it well. Obviously, a lot has to do with age of the children (and, perhaps adults), but to be able to capture both takes a lot of thought and planning! 

To be continued in Part 2...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pack Your Own Lunch?


The more festivals and events that Gary and I attend the more we feel that the food offered is neither good value nor nutritional! It makes you wonder if we should be packing our own lunch. I am not sure why so many festivals allow high priced, poor quality food to be offered at their events. Since food plays such a major roll in the festival experience, it would seem to me that smart festival organizers would start to reconsider the types of food offered and how and where it’s presented. This is especially true for larger events that allow food vendors set up shop and then charge ridiculously high prices. As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I believe that festival visitors will become more and more discerning about the festivals and events they visit as gas and food prices increase. Although it’s difficult for festival organizers to dictate what food vendors can charge and what ingredients they use, they can be very selective on whom they choose as a vendor by asking hard questions and only contracting with the very best. Good value, healthy ingredients and a good selection of foods will win the hearts of their visitors. 
A further thought for festival organizers is that they should be offering food areas for their visitors. There is nothing worst then trying to juggle food, drinks and other packages while trying to eat food. Festival organizers should include in their planning a convenient food court with plenty of seating and lots of shade. I feel that festivals organizers who go that “extra mile” will be richly rewarded for their efforts!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Confusion…


Some time ago, we attended an event that was confusing! It’s not that the event didn’t have a purpose and a theme, it did. The event was a race of sorts and celebrated a disaster in the town’s past. The confusion for me was simple, was the event held for race participants or was it for the race visitors? In this case, the event was heavily geared towards the race participants. There is nothing wrong with this. It’s up to the event organizers to make their choices. However, I think that they and the town are missing a great opportunity to promote the town, its amenities and its merchants! With just a little more effort this event could become one of the biggest attractions in the area. Don’t get me wrong, the event already attracts a good crowd, especially if the weather is good, but it could do better, much better! This may not be what the race organizers want, but it may be what the town needs. If the race organizers don’t want to spearhead an expanded event, why not make the race and event within a larger event or festival! An overall festival committee could be formed and its members could develop plans to expand and compliment the existing event. Expanding on an already successful event just makes good sense! The race already attracts a good number of out-of-town visitors. Why not give the more to do and see? Why not give them greater opportunities to spend money and help downtown merchants? It makes me wonder how many other communities are in the same position. Right now, I believe, a great number of opportunities are being lost!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Contingency Planning... Part 2


We bide our time by walking the festival grounds, in the rain. Finally, with plenty of time to spare, we made our way to the main attraction’s venue. We found a good viewing spot and claimed as our own. As the time got closer to 3:00 PM, set up activities started to take place. This activity seemed to draw people to the staging area! People started to arrive in numbers and were sitting and standing wherever they could. So much for arriving early and choosing a good viewing spot! Finally, the set-up staff realized that the performance area had people in it and that they were going to interfere with the performers. After much wrangling and time, they managed to relocate the encroaching crowd to new non-conflicting positions. 3:00 pm came and went! At approximately 3:20 PM the first performers were introduced. The whole production was spectacular, definitely worth waiting for! 
However, I believe that the confusion and delays could have been avoided if the contingency plans had been taken more seriously. Plans like these need to be practiced and understood by ALL staff members, not just the planners! This was a world class event, at a world class venue. I am sure that in the good weather everything ran smoothly, but with the bad weather everything seemed to fall apart. This event deserved to have the same professionalism, good weather or bad!  

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Contingency Planning... Part 1

Some time ago, we visited an event that was scheduled to have its activities take place inside and outside. When we arrived, it was raining quite heavily, plus it was cold! A bad combination for a spring festival! When we got there, I checked with the festival information desk to obtain an event schedule. One of the staff explained the schedule and outlined the changes being made due to the poor weather (rain/cold). Everything seemed organized with an adequate contingency plan. 

Unfortunately, the execution of the plans was poor! Staff were walking about, confused as to where and when activities were taking place. There was one event that we particularly wanted to see, so we asked one of the staff members the time of the next performance. She told us 1:30 PM. When we came back at 1:15 PM to see the show, there was no line up, so we asked a different attendant the time of the show. He told us 2:45 PM! This was disappointing, not only because we were given incorrect information, but the time was in direct conflict with the main attraction which was to start at 3:00 PM. We decided to miss the 2:45 PM performance. 

To be continued in Part 2...

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Amazing Recovery…

A number of years ago, we visited the Bowmanville Maple Festival & All That Jazz. The entire main street was closed off for the festival. The was no mean feat, as the main street is the former Highway #2 and is normally a very busy road! However, the road was closed and full of festival visitors. Parking close to the main street was difficult to find, but after a little driving we found a spot on one of the side streets. We walked from our parked car to the main street. The festival was in full swing! Vendors had set up their booth along the street. There was a long line up at the Lions Pancake Breakfast and jazz musicians were entertaining the crowds at several locations.

 What I have just described is typical of any great event. People walking the festival and having a good time. This year’s Bowmanville Maple Festival was NOT typical! Bowmanville had just experienced a major downtown fire just a few days before the festival. Fire crews had spent hours preventing the fire from spreading and succeeded heroically! The citizens of Bowmanville must have been in shock, but the spirit of the residents and the festival organizers lived on! Despite the calamity the festival was held as scheduled. I know Gary and I enjoyed ourselves, as did the other festival visitors. 

To me this shows what true community spirit is all about. People working together even in the face of great odds! 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Festival Amenities… Part 2


I believe the overall effect would be a win-win for everyone. Festivals who participate in the program would have better events, would draw more visitors and have fewer disappointed attendees. Visitors going to these festivals would know in advance what to expect. This would mean happier attendees and happier attendees usually spend more.
 If Festivals and Events Ontario were to spearhead this program, they could use it as a membership recruitment tool and it would give them the opportunity to educate and upgrade their existing festival and event members. The standards should be detailed, but not be too complicated. The program could start out by standardizing simple amenities, ones that every attendee would appreciate knowing about. Amenities such as washroom facilities and their placement, seniors and disabled facilities, children’s facilities, first aid, shuttle services and “green” programs could be the first ones standardized, others could follow later. With gas and food prices drastically increasing, people are becoming more and more discerning about where and how they spend their money. They want value for money spent. They don’t want to drive long distance to events that have no appeal. They are using the internet more to select the festivals and events they are going to attend. Our Ontario Visited website attests to that, as does the Ontario Travels site. 
It is important that festivals understand the changing dynamics and take advantage of them as new opportunities. Those that don’t will ultimately fail. Standard guideline, I believe, will help festivals achieve their potential.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Festival Amenities… Part 1

Gary and I determine what festivals we are going to visit, by going onto websites to see what is being offered. I think many people use the same method. If you look on most festival websites, it is very hard to tell what basic amenities they are offering, disabled parking, children’s activities, shuttle services, first aid, etc. and if they are offering any of these, what are they actually offering.  Right now, it is mainly a guessing game on the part of festival goers. 

Perhaps Festivals and Events Ontario or some other authoritative body could come up with some standard guidelines that festivals could use to describe basic amenities being offered. These guidelines could list each amenity and describe minimum standards for each. Special icons could be developed that could then be used by festivals if they met the minimum standards as outlined in the guidelines. These special icons would be the property of the developer and could only be used by festivals on written authority. By developing these standards, both festival organizers and event goers would benefit. Organizers would have amenity goals and standards to aim for, thereby making their event better. This would especially be true for new events. Festival visitors would benefit because they would know what amenities are being offered and what to expect from each amenity.

To Be Continued... Part 2

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Following the Crowd… (Part 2)


This type of traffic is much harder to manage than vehicle traffic because there are no “rules of the road”! It is basically every man (person) for themselves. If organizers take this fact into consideration, they should, at least, be able to help the traffic flow. This is especially important if you are encouraging seniors and the disabled to attend you event! One suggestion that I have in this area is to use “people movers” (golf carts, mini vans, and handicapped bus) for people who are unable or unwilling to move through heavy crowds. This takes some of the pressure off both organizers and seniors/disabled. Other suggestions for traffic control include strategic placement of major attractions, clustering like attractions together (food court, craft show, midway). This helps divide crowds into a variety of different interests. One of the best festivals we visited for traffic control was the Mississauga Waterfront Festival. Their events were well spaced and due to their location, Memorial Park in Port Credit, they were able to take advantage of the park’s great walkway system. Whatever the solutions, festival and event organizers should make traffic control a high priority.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Following the Crowd… Part 1

Story as told to me by The Festival Nomad (aka Gary McWilliams)

"I can remember as a young man working at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and being amazed at the crowds that came to visit. Back then I never felt threatened by the crowds. In fact, I loved them! I used to make a game of walking through the crowds to see how quickly I could maneuver my way through them! I was never rude, but I did say a lot of “excuse me’s”. Back then I could move quite quickly and was very agile! Now, of course, it’s different. I’m a lot older and not quite as quick or agile as I use to be! I still love walking through crowds! For Judi, it’s a completely opposite story. She hates crowds! This “love/hate” is the challenge that all successful festivals and events organizers have to face, because success brings bigger crowds. So how does a festival prepare for this type of success? First of all, traffic control, vehicle and people, has to become an intricate part of the planning process. If your traffic control is poor or non-existent, your success will be short lived! Festival and event visitors will only stand for so much inconvenience. I have talked before about parking and shuttle services, so I won’t talk about them in this blog. Rather, I want to talk about pedestrian traffic flow."

To be Continued in Part 2...

Thursday, January 23, 2020

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. 
One festival that I know of, 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, their Craft Show and Sale has a waiting list and they have the “cream” of the crafters participating in their show! 
Another event, offers 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, January 15, 2020

Activity Planning…


Some time 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 must keep in mind who they are trying to attract and then plan the event/festival accordingly. One event that we visited, in my opinion, planned their activities and event to perfection. They had a wide range of interesting events that appealed 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.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Festival Dining... Part Two


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 then 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.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Festival Dining… Part One

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. 

To Be Continued ~ Part Two