Vending at herb festivals has really changed over the years, and except for one or two that we love, it's probably over for us. We've tried a lot of things, from the massive state farm show, to the Phila wholesale trade show, to all sizes of herb festivals and craft fairs, to the (defunct) local farmers market. We'd love to hear what others think about this in your area, especially if you've been at it for a decade or more.
It was an evening and a day, with the evening being by invitation only. $30 was our fee, and there were about a dozen vendors. We were well fed at the reception, and there was May wine, too. The next day, the director of the venue came around to be sure that we didn't need anything. Did we have enough change? For those of you who vend, we can only say that, yes, this really did happen. We made about 25X our booth fee. Of course now that fees are closer to $200 for a weekend show, that is not, nor will it ever be, the same for us.
Our next venture was the local renaissance festival. There, we worked very hard for very little - but we had a lot of fun. The fun kept us coming back, but around the third year we realized that the (then) owner found a way every year to snatch whatever we'd made, so we left.
There are only a couple places that are fun, relaxed, and worth that.
It often feels like the smaller the crowd, the better the sales. Also, 12 vendors versus 150 is much better for the vendors.
And you can never tell. We've traveled to herb conferences that were shockingly good, and then there was one that barely paid for the gas, let alone any hotels or food along the way.
So... part of it is that the partners in crime have either split for the coast or retired from shows, and a large part of it is that it just isn't fun anymore. Is anyone making any money? Certainly not like at one time, before everything was available at the touch of a computer key and people waited all year for that one, big herb festival. It would be great to stop hauling around tables and boxes and displays. We've had a blast, but maybe it's time to let them go.
Again, we'd love to read your thoughts and comments on this subject.