Monday, October 12, 2015

wine fair on the square

The annual Wine Fair on the Square in Wharton was Saturday and also my day to work at the antique store. This year they had the Wine Fair start at noon instead of 4 PM like all the previous years and ordinarily I would have had to stay til the bitter end which is supposed to be 10 PM but because we are on the 'poor relations' side of the Square, we usually don't have anyone coming in the store past 9 PM. By then all the tasters have used up all their tickets and the band on the other side of the square is in full swing. As it was, I left at 5 PM because of the first of the wedding events.

Last year it was rainy and so none of the food vendors, some of the craft booths, or art cars showed up as scheduled. This year we had excellent weather if a little on the warm side and they all showed up. I did get out to look around a bit and the craft booths were typical and predictable for this little jewelry, religious stuff out of wood, painted wine glasses and all sorts of things made from wine bottles, maybe 10 little booths. We had 5 art cars and about that number of vintage cars show up. That's the sop they toss us and the other new little shop on our side of the square for the event. Most of the shops are clustered on the two sides of the square diagonally from us and then down the block off the square so the committee puts everything over there to their advantage leaving us high and dry...every year. We have asked for the ticket booth or the food vendors or the tables and chairs set out for people to sit at and eat and socialize or the stage. I don't really want the stage because the sound level would be too loud. But no, they just look at us and say 'but you get the art cars!' Whoopie doo! This is the first year they have actually shown up and parked on our side of the Square like they are supposed to. Usually they just don't show up.

The Wine Fair, the purpose of which is to draw people to the Square and into the shops, is organized by the merchants and someone either volunteers or gets volunteered to be the chairman, a time consuming and thankless job. They keep trying to get my sister to chair it and she keeps telling them they don't want that because they wouldn't like the result. I told her, IN JEST, that we ought to co-chair it next year and move all the good stuff over to our side of the Square and let them have the art cars since they think that's such a big draw. But then we'd be cutting our noses off to spite our faces because then we would have the unrewarding and thankless job of organizing it and putting it on.

I'll be interested in seeing the final totals since the committee spent a lot of money...on the band, on the warm-up band (I think they wanted $400 for 30 minutes), they paid some young woman $1000+ to do all the advertising and promotion on-line which basically amounted to a search code that led to the already established FB page for the event and the day of the event she brought around slips of paper for the fair goers to pick up encouraging them to tweet the fair and then they only charge the people who want to do the wine tasting so those that come just for the band in the evening, this year The Blues Brothers Tribute Band, get a free concert. Not to mention that they always predict 3 times as many attendees as they usually get and attendance seems to be diminishing.

Oh well. While it is aggravating to be blown off by the other merchants, it's not my store and not my worry.

edit to whom it may concern: we are NOT chairing the next wine fair.

next post: the wedding


  1. Went to one myself.I passed on the wine, ate a few types of food.

  2. Another clueless committee. If the purpose is to bring people to shop the shops on the square, say so and make that the event. Coming to drink wine and listen to music seems to be the focus of this event. Ditch the wine, spread the food out, put the musicians (small local groups) in spots around the square, have the merchants offer an interesting promotion like customers getting their "passport" to the town square validated (stamped, for instance), by every store in which they make a purchase. Drop the passport into a box on the way out of town and draw a winner from among the passports that have the most stamps. The prize need't be grandiose, the merchants can figure that out.

  3. My son is very involved with a festival that is in its fifth year in Tallahassee. He and another friend started the idea to support a part of town which is funkier and needed some local business awareness. It has grown to be quite something and I am so proud of him for doing that! It consumes his life for months. But he loves it and that part of town is getting more business every day.

  4. I generally enjoy these types of events, but I can understand how easily they can backfire from the merchants' point of view.

  5. Well, it sounds like a fun event, even if the spoils (such as they are) are not adequately and fairly distributed. The town square looks cute!


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.