If you haven’t had a chance to join the No White Tent website/forum you might want to give it a try. They list mostly south and central Florida events on a regular basis but they allow their members to post events in Florida for craft vendors ourselves. I really could use some help adding events in the North Florida area. They do specialize in events that don’t cost an arm-and-a-leg for the craft vendors and usually ask for only those events for under $50. Of course, you can include events that are not strict about the type of vendor tent you have as well.
To post an event is pretty easy once you have joined the site. It doesn’t cost anything to join or add events either. They even encourage event coordinators to post their events on the site as well. Once you post the event it stays on your event listing so you can keep track of the ones you are most interested in attending. All you need is the name of event, copy of the event poster picture, the dates and times, who is sponsoring or coordinating that particular event, phone number, website address (or Facebook page), where being held, city and state and finally a brief description of the event. I try to remember to include the vendor fee amount and whether the application is available for download. I have already posted a couple events scheduled for the next couple of months.
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Northeast Florida Craft Vendors really need more opportunities to sell their handcrafted wares. South and Central Florida really gets all the good events with tons of people attending until all the snow birds start heading back up north. It would be great if more of the state parks would start holding events all year long. In the late spring and summer concentrate on those parks with swimming areas. Maybe we should start our own coalition and lobby the start park event planners to allow us to hold events once a month in one or more of them in our area.
I cannot think of one state park in our area that doesn’t have a fairly large area where tents and trailers could be pitched, a small stage for local musicians to come in and play and the park visitors to come over and spend a little money. They could charge a percentage of sales as a vendor fee like the Florida Folk Festival. That seems more equitable to all parties. Most musicians would play for a small stipend or even free depending on the amount of advertising and if they were allowed to set up a table to sell the CDs.
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Finally, one of the trailer companies has decided to offer an enclosed trailer that fits us craft vendors. You can back it into a 10×10 space, take off the removable hitch, put the 4 little jacks under each corner and you are ready to start selling. You can add a small awning to the front to keep the weather off you and your customers, cut out one or both of the sides to put in those sliding windows with screens to let in some light and even wire up an air conditioner or ceiling fan to help keep you cool. You will probably want to paint the wooden walls, floor and ceiling or just put up some shelves and be done with it. If you’re handy with a paint brush you could paint your name and logo on the outside to advertising. But if you have a little extra money a “Wrap” might be better. Personally, I would love to paint the outside like one of those little cottages with flower pots, trees, windows and fencing. The barn doors in the back can be opened to let in some air and light or kept closed for added shelving space.
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Now is the time to plan our your craft vending opportunities for the coming year. 2017 can be your best year ever if you are able to plan which events you want to participate in, application deadlines, costs, etc. We are still in the process of gathering information about all the North Florida Craft Vending events happening in the coming months to post them here on our calendar as well as participating in some of them. I like the printed calender myself so that I can write down the information in the blocks and have a visual reminder of when the events are happening. It also helps you to plan out your costs in the coming months. Finally, depending on the number of participants in the previous years it may help you to figure out how much inventory to have on hand.
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We have heard about a possible craft vendors opportunity during the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park’s Festival of Lights in December. We wanted to tell everyone about it so that you could contact the park’s Gift Shop Manager about setting up a tent in the craft village for the month or even better if you have a cute little “Shop on Wheels” they may let you set up there. We spoke to the previous manager about it when we were volunteering there year before last. They did have two vendors set up on the sidewalk outside the gift shop main entrance last year. This event draws literally thousands and thousands of people from as far away as South Florida and North Georgia every single year.
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