This event was clearly another craft fair event but when I signed up initially, it wasn't clear how good or bad craft fairs would be for me. I have since learned that pins sell everywhere at least but craft fairs are a difficult crowd for me to please.
Two things that made this event appealing to me were the free Santa pics that drew people with children in and the hockey game that was happening the same weekend. It meant that if anything, there would be foot traffic of some sort.
Before the Event & Setup
We left sort of late for this one despite having the car loaded and ready to go. We arrived with about 30-40 minutes left of setup time (including load out of my car). They had a map showing where we had to go to unload. I will say this map wasn't correct unless you drove the wrong way but I really LOVED having so many areas to load/unload things. I loaded in by the blue area across from the red unloading parking, so my walk was further than it really needed to be, but I took note of where to go when it was time to unload.
My booth was located closer to that garage drop off area in the pink strip but I actually didn't see the map initially in the email. I will say that the booths were advertised at 10x9 but seems like neither of us were aware of that. The person next to me had their table sticking out a substantial amount because they were used to a 10x10 space and that was what they were expecting.
Mine was fine. I only have the single 8 ft table anyways so I just shared some space behind my table with them so they could move around without issue. That being said, had I planned for a 10x10 space and gotten a 10x9 space, I would have also been upset.
I didn't bring any extra cash to this but did break a $20 bill into some $5 bills so I could handle that if needed. Seems like few people use cash at most events but I do still need to have $5 bills available in case they do. If there was any free food or drink at this event, I have no idea. I never really made it around very far and the bathroom setup near the fieldhouse where we were was terrible. It had 3 stalls while the one near the hockey arena was apparently huge.
The Event Itself
This event was actually VERY busy. We were not far from the entrance but that also meant people were walking down our row either first (if they turned left immediately) or last (if they went straight and hooked around).
I felt it was going to be better than the first craft fair I attended. Oddly though, this was in fact my worst event I had attended as far as sales went. I am not sure if it was because people were not really there to buy things or what, but in the end I did make back my booth. This event was good, but it wasn't good based on sales but more organization and effort put in by the people who put the event on.
I don't really have much to say about the event itself. It was so busy that it felt like a really quick event.
What Worked & What Did Not
I loved how many options there were for load in. I have never seen so many entrances! They had them in the back and on the sides or you could just come in from the front. Basically, if you knew where your booth was in location to an entrance, you had easy access to and from the load in or out for setup.
Vendor print outs for the food trucks are my favorite thing from any event so far. Like, hi, that is genius? I can just hand my daughter cash and she can turn in what we want and bring it back.
Loading out was chaos. I am learning that most people have large trucks and trailers that take up substantial amounts of space which make it hard for anyone to get out quickly. Load in I was pretty late for, so I didn't experience the same issues. People were driving badly and none of this was caused by those running the event, but it was definitely something I didn't particularly care for.
It was a good event being a vendor but not the best in terms of sales. I think the timing worked against us as December 9th is very close to Christmas and I don't know about you, but I have long been done Christmas shopping by this point. Traffic was very high, likely due to the hockey game and people coming for free Santa pictures.
I don't feel it was a waste but I do think if this event had been in November instead, sales would have likely been better. I could be wrong, but I am willing to try out other events to test the theory that timing was not great specifically.
I don't know if I will ever get used to the idea of an event ending at a certain time and everyone packing up in the last 30 or so minutes of it. I feel if I was a customer, I'd be pretty sad if I showed up late and people were already leaving 30 minutes from the end. This is pretty consistent across the board as well so the whole "do not pack up early" thing that event hosts constantly say makes so much more sense now.
The Details (TLDR)
Event: Powerful Zen Massage & Blue Ribbon Events MN Craft Fair & Food Truck Event
Date: December 9, 2023
Location: Furniture & Things Fieldhouse, Elk River, MN
Hours: 10am-4pm, loading time 7:30am-9:30am
Total Vendors: 150
Attendance: ~4,500-5,000 (estimated by the event hosts)
Travelworthy: Okay for locals within a 30 minute drive, not worth for anyone out of state.
Booth Cost: $75 for a 10x9 space
Total Sales: $145 (this is before all costs are taken out)
Transaction Fees: $3.13
Total Profit: $56.36