Over the years, I have visited about 250 Ontario festivals and events. Although I have found them have been interesting and enjoyable to visit, I have also seen many challenges. In this article I will describe 5 of the Top Ten Challenges I have experienced.
9. FOOD – Food is an important component of most festivals and events. It used to be that “good old fashion” comfort food was totally acceptable, foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, sno-cones and candy floss. While these are still the “norm”, times are changing and many visitors are demanding more nutritious foods. A number of festivals and events have responded to these demands and are offering a greater variety of nutritious meals. Families are not only becoming “health” conscious, but with the economy as it is, they are looking for better food value. Some families have stopped buying food at festival all together, opting to eat at home before going to the event or bring a picnic lunch to eat at the event. Festivals and events that recognize these trends and respond to them will benefit from the changes in the long run. Here are some ideas to think about.
Ø Try grouping food vendors together and offer a greater variety of “comfort” and “health foods”.
Ø Provide a “picnic” area for visitors who bring their own food. Make sure you advertise this service on your website and in your advertising.
Ø Screen food vendors thoroughly, make sure that they meet the food standards that have been set, both in quality of food and food value. It’s your event, so you make the rules!
Ø Providing a family friendly environment will pay huge dividends.
One of the best events we have visited for food was the Winona Peach Festival. All food vendors are local charities and organizations. The food is home made, nutritious and delicious. The vendors are all located in the same food area and there is plenty of variety to choose from. In the centre of the food area is a covered picnic area!