From August through October, Mount Hope Estate & Winery in Manheim, PA, transforms into an Elizabethan-themed village. Each season, the grounds come alive with jousting knights, serenading minstrels, parading royalty, traditional artisans and thousands of visitors cloaked in period costumes.
It’s the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire – one of the many large Renaissance festivals that provide fantasy fun for revelers and opportunity for distributors.
Fairs that run for at least two weekends or more are found across the country. The Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, TX, the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, WI, the Northern California Renaissance Faire in Hollister, CA, and the Florida Renaissance Festival in Deerfield Beach, FL, are just a few of many similar standout events. There’s certainly a great chance you can find a festival in your neck of the woods as well – and at all times of the year depending on your locale. And that’s good news, as this entertaining niche harbors ample sales potential. To maximize the possibilities, try the following:
Provide Fair Swag:
Attendees often want to buy fair-branded merchandise. Be the one to provide these items. T-shirts and drinkware like pint glasses can prove popular. So can more historically-themed quaffing vessels: This past season, for example, the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire had ceramic ale mugs and chalices for sale, as well as cool T-shirts.
To get the orders going, head to festival websites and do some social media searching to identify organizers. After making contact, consider creating virtual samples that show unique artwork that ties into the themes and performance storylines of the festival.
Connect Merchants With Branded Gear:
Festivals typically host a variety of merchants and artisans selling everything from clothing, candles, jewelry and scents to pottery, paintings, woodcrafts, glasswork, toys and more. All are potential clients.
Possible products include eco-friendly totes, gift boxes and branded gift-with-purchase items that relate to the character of the business. Retailable items are an option, too. A candle maker, for instance, might want to sell organic cotton T-shirts and lighters or matches that bear the business’s branding. Remember, also, that festivalgoers spend a lot of time outside at what can be crowded events. As such, inexpensive giveaways like sunscreen, lip balm with SPF and hand sanitizer can win vendors points with attendees.
Help Performers Build Their Audience:
Festivals directly employ staff that can include performers, but there are also independently contracted performers that range from musical groups to acrobats who delight crowds. Attempt to turn the contracted acts into customers. For instance, a band specializing in Irish music may come to perform at Celtic-themed weekends. Seek to provide such an act with concert-style merchandise like tees, vinyl stickers, pub caps, buttons and even tech items like earbuds.
Focus on Food Vendors:
Purveyors of fine food and drink will want to build their brands with fairgoers and have those attendees carry their satiating experience with them out into the world. Branded drinkware, coasters, bibs, to-go bags, pens and shirts can help accomplish that.
A “Faire” Amount of Foot Traffic
600,000 – Estimated number of people who annually attend the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, TX.
300,000 – Estimated yearly attendance at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, MN.
280,000 – Estimated turnout for the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Annapolis, MD.