Wednesday, March 2, 2016

First Weekend Success

Well, we did it…and with some help from The Cowboy Posse, we did it with a bang!

The first weekend of the festival was a success. We anticipated a
large crowd due to the wonderful weather conditions. Needless to say,
our expectations were greatly exceeded. By our rough estimate, we had
15k people at our little farm in two days. Our estimated annual
attendance is on average 10-12k over all four days. I think we broke
every record we had.
Photo credit Leslie Dice (Handy Crafts by AL vendor)

Each year, I place one large order for everything in the store for all
4 days of the festival. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m usually
pretty good at ordering the right amount of stuff (Jenny helps a lot
also!!). We usually place a small order in-between the two weekends if
we are especially low on something, but it’s usually for things like
more tasting spoons, maple sugar if we use a lot of cotton candy mix,
and perhaps some more trash bags.   When 90% of my inventory sold on
SATURDAY, I was slightly panicked. I’ve been scrambling all week to
get everything re-stocked by this weekend. The items we don’t make
ourselves, or have a local contact who makes the items for us are on
expedited shipping orders. Most of the orders will arrive on Thursday
or Friday this week. I foresee a couple of sleepless nights on Thursday and
Friday getting everything ready.

By the numbers, we went through almost 30 gallons of cotton candy mix,
2,520 maple cream cookies, 320 pounds of maple nut treats, 3 cases (72
packages) of maple candies, 250 pounds of granulated maple sugar (this
does include what we put in the cotton candy mix), 600 maple suckers,
and many more things too numerous to list. The store was honestly
totally empty by the end of the day Sunday. We had a few t-shirts
left. At least inventory was easy!!

We expect to have a much larger supply of syrup this weekend.
Partnering with our local Amish community, and with the syrup we have
made this week, we expect to have plenty of syrup this weekend. We
apologize to our customers who weren’t able to make a purchase. We
sold out so quickly. It’s always part of being a smaller producer, and
the festival seems to keep growing exponentially each year.

The vendors seemed to do well. We had quite a few new faces this year
and I feel like they were all extremely happy with their experience.
Russell, the owner of the Italian food truck, sold out of everything
on Saturday and had to make a late night run to GFS on Saturday night.
We had several other vendors who sold out of all of their items on
Saturday and had nothing left to sell on Sunday. Not a bad problem to
have in my opinion!

The Cowboy Posse was a HUGE hit. Each performance drew a huge crowd.
They will be attending this weekend as well, with shows at 12 and 3pm
each day. I hope they become a permanent fixture at the festival. We
had a pitch in dinner with the group on Saturday night and they are an
exceptional group of people.
Photo credit Leslie Dice (Handy Crafts by AL vendor

The festival this coming weekend is Saturday, March 5th and Sunday,
March 6th. We are open each day from 9am-5pm. The kitchen serves
breakfast all day, and serves lunch from noon-5pm, or while supplies
last. The vendor area and Children’s Activity Center will be open from
9am-5pm and we offer free guided tours of our farm every hour on the
hour from 10am-4pm. The weather is looking wonderful for the weekend.
Perfect opportunity to come out to the farm and enjoy some beautiful
spring weather!!

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