Submitted by Garry Reeves and edited by Jason Morgan
Garry Reeves thought that it would be nice if SIBA had a presence at our local fair not only to move honey to our neighbors, but also to mingle with our community and spread the good word about the honey bees. A few of us showed up to help including Shannon and Shana Tschenne, John Miller and myself. I enjoyed stopping up and working at the fair. It was nice running in to friends and family, and other people who have been thinking about starting a bee hive.
Garry had his observation hive up there and that is what caught peoples eyes... enough for them to stop in and talk, look and even buy some local honey. Garry had a variety of honey, and candles, as well as a coffee pot perking all day. He invited any SIBA member with honey to sell to bring it up and help for a while. Shannon and I brought some things up and everything had no problem moving. I especially liked watching the parade pass the booth on Saturday morning.
Garry took it upon himself to set up the booth at the fair. He wanted to do this to be able to come back and tell us what it took to man a booth along with costs, and a first-hand look at the effort involved. It really was a job for him to man the booth all day Wed. through Sat! Next year, the idea would be to find at least 8 volunteers to man the tent for an AM or PM shift. If you have honey to sell, this is the ticket. Check it out.
The booth cost $140 for a 10x10 spot with electric if you use your own tent/canopy. It would cost $190 if you used the tent they provided. They would also set it up and take it down for you. You actually set up on Tuesday evening after 4:00 PM and then it has to be taken down by Saturday night before midnight. In the future, perhaps the club may foot half the cost of the booth if there were enough interest from enough club members wanting to come and sell their goods.
The observation hive was definitely a big help on sales. Here is the way sales went day by day.
- Wednesday was from 5pm until 10pm and total sales was $28. We also didn't expect much on Wed. night.
- Thursday was much better, 5pm until 10pm and total sales of $96.
- Friday's sales were still better, 11am to 10pm and total sales of $315
- Saturday sales started at 9am and carried through until 10pm. Total sales for the day were $1213
The sales also included those of Shana and Jason. Jason brought some bee hive Christmas ornaments he made and Garry had many things to sell... including candles, bees wax, comb honey, chunk comb and 1/2lb, 1 lb, 2lb and 5lb honey bottles. Last but not least, honey straws... which couldn't be kept stocked.
The honey prices were a little higher to offset the cost of the booth, and of which no one complained. Costs were five dollars per half pound, $10 per pound, $18 for 2 pounds, $33 for 5 pounds and $12 per 1 pound muth jars. The Honey straws were $.25 each or five for a dollar. The weather was very cooperative. Garry says that he has been been to many of the farmers fairs and says the majority of the time, weather is inclement. We only had rain on Wed... and each day after was beautiful!
The recommendation is to find at least 8 people who are interested in manning the AM and PM shifts for 4 days. The first person has to open and set up the booth, and the last person has to break down the booth. It's also recommended to bring your goods home each night. We left the canopy, and tables and even the observation hive at the fair over night one night. Of course, those interested in helping can bring up their honey and any other products to sell. SIBA has pretty much all the stuff we need to run the booth, and Garry or Jason always have observation hives ready to go.
I personally want to thank Garry for heading this up and providing a comprehensive report back to the club so that we might be able to head this up in the future. I found the timing of the Aurora Farmers Fair was really perfect in order to allow most beekeepers time to harvest their honey, let it settle and get it into bottles in time for the fair. While Farmers Markets start up earlier in the season, not everyone has their honey ready then. If you are going to get a honey crop, you'll have it in time for the Farmer's Fair. If you've ever wanted to sell your honey, this is the perfect venue. We want to find people to cover AM and PM shifts Wed. through Saturday for next year. If interested, speak up and we'll see if SIBA can represent at next years Aurora Farmers Fair.