So our third year at Baltimore’s Beer Bourbon & BBQ Festival is history. So is our participation, I think. It seems the festival has grown larger and more corporate and louder. It was so loud I couldn’t hear myself leave my body. But when someone on one end of the hall would drop the glass  they’d been issued with admission, meaning, I assume, that their drinking was done, festival goers from one end to the other would shout a wave of mourning and sympathy through the hall. This happened a lot.

As people became tipsy, their explorations of our fair trade wares were at least amusing. One young man, regarding our onyx carvings, mused, “It’s like, turtles…only made outta ROCK!!!”

So as I look ahead to our schedule for 2009, I hope you find helpful these lessons I take with me in case we do similar shows:

  • When selling to drunk people, wear washable shoes. Sorry to start with this. I know you’re thinking vomit. In fact, the reason is that when they go to dig change out of their wallets, they don’t realize they’re pouring their drink onto their salesperson’s feet.
  • Drunk people say, “Keep the change,” with strange frequency, sometimes to statements like, “May I help you?”
  • Don’t cry over spilled crystals. Don’t cry over things spilled into your crystals. Cry over things spilled into purses.
  • Beverage-themed festivals should provide extra restroom facilities or locate my booth near tall shrubry.
  • Pretzel necklaces go with everything.
  • Five-gallon buckets of water aren’t good enough sandbags for an EZUp canopy in thirty mile-per-hour wind. If you see a row of canopies so anchored, don’t park downwind of them.
  • Drunk people sometimes want to hug their festival vendors as if we were hosting The Price Is Right and they’ve just won something. Yes. Show them what they’re won, Wren! “You’ve won a shopping spree at Heathcote Earthings! This includes a menora made from a recycled bicycle chain, all the treetop angels left over from last year, and five pounds of fancy jasper, which I think is cool but no one seems to want! Will that be cash or check?”

Not my crowd.

I’m on the road to Arkansas, to visit my partner Iuval as he searches for land to form an Intentional Community. Watch for posts on my adventures!

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