This past weekend, I went to Yorkfest in York, PA. This wasn't the most eventful show for me (in a very neutral way), but here's what happened.
You can scroll past The Narrative to see more succinct reviews of specific areas.
The Narrative: I started out my trip with an unexpected adventure: my car overheated. The temperature gauge wasn't even up halfway, but the temperature light came on. I pulled into the next rest area and did some research with my car manual and the internet. Opened up my hood, and my coolant level was low. Got some coolant, refilled it, and got ready to go. It was just my oil overheating, not the engine. And as far as car problems go, that could have been a lot worse!
Once I arrived in York, I found my booth space, pulled right up to it, and set up my tent. Then I headed to my hotel and passed out. The show started at 10am on Saturday, so I arrived about an hour early to do some final prep and take advantage of the free breakfast the show was offering its vendors (I know, I already had free breakfast available at the hotel, but I'm always up for a little extra coffee). The breakfast was GREAT. They had quiche, cinnamon sugar pretzel bites, juices, danish, etc. I was really just expecting donuts and coffee. Sales were okay, not stellar. The crowd was slow but steady with lots of people stopping to chat but not buying very much. On Sunday, I sold a few more things than I had on Saturday. At 4pm, we all tore down, packed up, and headed home. I didn't have any especially interesting customer interactions this time, so I'm sorry for the lack of wacky customer tales!
The Hotel: I got a room at a Best Western about ten minutes from the festival site. I used Priceline Express deals and paid $132 for two nights (that's the nightly rate plus service fees from Priceline). It was clean, modern, and had a mini fridge and microwave, so I was happy with it!
The Crowd: Mostly middle-aged people who seemed like they had money. Some groups of students came through, too, because there are a couple of colleges in and around the town. Not a huge crowd. Vendors who have done the show in previous years said that the crowd this year was half of its usual size. People were super friendly and excited about my work, even if they weren't buying it. That's what really makes a show a positive experience for me.
The Town/Venue: York seems a little bit like Richmond, VA, or parts of Pittsburgh. For those of you who are familiar with Pittsburgh, it's like the business district of Lawrenceville/Bloomfield (unique restaurants, breweries, boutiques, galleries, etc.), with the green of Regent Square (trees and such). For those of you who are not familiar with Pittsburgh, GET FAMILIAR, IT'S AWESOME. So yeah, York seems really cool. The festival was held in the park, along the creek and bike trail. I love when shows are right on the water!
Other Vendors: There was a good mix of experienced and inexperienced artists, and everyone's work was high quality. Good stuff!
Load In/Out: SO EASY. I pulled my car right up behind my spot for loading in and out. I also parked in the field behind my booth. Super convenient.
The Staff: They were great. They gave the vendors free water and snacks. Other than that, I didn't see too much of them, but everything was so convenient that I didn't need to.
The Dollars: $132 for hotel; ~$50 for 2 tanks of gas; $175 booth fee; ~$1000 in purchases. That's about $640 profit. Not awesome, but fairly typical turn-around given the low booth fee. My average profit (not total sales, but profit) based on last year is 4 times the booth fee, so this one hits right below the mark.
Liked: The staff, the venue, the crowd, the vendors, the load in/out process, hotel.
Didn't Like: Small crowd, dogs not allowed (SO SAD).
Overall: 5/10. Not a huge success, but definitely not a total bust. It was a positive experience, but I'm honestly not sure whether I will do it again next year. Solid maybe.
Next up is Art and Apples in Rochester, MI, September 9th - 11th. It's supposed to be an awesome show, and I'm excited!!