When you begin your concession stand, it will take some time to develop an eye for what types of events are best for you, but it does not hurt to begin your journey by researching all of the events available in your area. This does not mean you should apply to all of them, as some will require a higher level of experience than you have in your inaugural season, but it is always good to know the lay of the land. When you begin your quest for events, it may be hard to know where to look, but there are actually a myriad of resources available to you from the comfort of your own home.
The internet can provide you with information for numerous upcoming events that you would like to participate in. Here are some tips:
Search for specific fairs or festivals. If you have the names of several of the events, you can simply search for the events by their commonly known name and, if they are large enough, you will likely come upon their official website on the first search.
Look for specialty events. If you are looking for types of events, such as craft fairs or farmer’s markets, typing in several keywords in a search engine like Google, combined with your desired city or county will likely yield several results.
Obtain a list of general information. For general lists of upcoming events in your area, you can check the websites of your local counties or fairgrounds.
State Tourism Board
When you have exhausted your list of possibilities on the internet, call the state tourism board. Oftentimes, they will have very extensive lists of events that will be happening all over the state. You can choose to investigate all of the venues or you can select the concession events that are most accessible and convenient for you.
While the tourism board will have a very large list to whittle through, the chances are high that they will not have some of the smaller, more local festivals that are being organized by small communities or groups, so it is important not to rely solely on their list.
Local Chamber of Commerce
Using this organization to find smaller events in your area is a very wise choice. The chamber of commerce is typically an organization with very deep and well-connected roots in the community. You will likely find out information about upcoming events that are much smaller in size, but will require little financial investment.
The other benefit of using the chamber of commerce is that they will likely have contact information readily available so there will be less calling around to find out the appropriate party to speak with when you are trying to apply to vend at the event.
The chances of filling up your schedule perfectly for the entire concession season are fairly slim, so it pays to have an ear to the ground when it comes to local buzz.
Farmer’s Markets are a great place to set up a stand or cart since they occur weekly.
Pay attention to local advertisements. Some very small events will only be announced a few weeks in advance. The benefit to following up on these last minute events is that you will likely be met with more enthusiasm, as the organizers are eager to fill up all of their spots in a relatively short amount of time.
Collect community calendars. Those flyers posted on church bulletin boards and sent home in elementary school newsletters can be an extra source of income for you. These events are so small that the organization may not even charge a fee for selling your goods at the event. Just remember, the event is small, so keep your profile low. Do not show up to a little league game with a twenty-foot trailer. Bring a cooler of snacks that you think parents and children alike will enjoy and set up a small stand or cart.
Try the late night route. If you can stay awake late enough and have the constitution for the crowds exiting bars on weekends, you can make some extra money with some fairly simple food. Just find a busy corner that is not already occupied and wait for the late night revelers to come to you.
There are many resources for finding the perfect events for your concession stand, from the internet to the street, but the most important thing to remember when researching events is to keep an open mind and be imaginative. You never know where the next big lead may come from.