Good food, beautiful weather, and the company of your friends and family – doesn’t that sound like the recipe for a perfect day? Well, that’s exactly why food festivals are all the rage today! Although many of us think food festivals are a new and creative concept, they are just based on the carnival model. However, the focus is primarily on food instead of other activities. After all, what better way to bring people together than by offering a variety of delicious food items in one place?
If you’re planning to carry out a food festival in your city, you must do plenty to ensure everything goes smoothly. However, due to the high traction, such events bring in, a lot of preparation and work goes into organizing a food festival. To get a head start, check out this ultimate guide for organizing a food festival.
1. The Perfect Venue
The first thing you need to get out of the way is finding the perfect venue. Ideally, a food festival requires an open outdoor space away from commercial or residential buildings. Why? Because, with all the live cooking, music, and other activities, those living or working in nearby buildings can get disturbed. So find a large ground like a park or field with a boundary wall or fence to monitor the people entering the festival.
Also, ensure access to facilities such as water and public toilets within the venue. However, if you can’t find a venue with the necessary facilities, you can make alternative arrangements. For instance, you can rent a portable toilet for the festival attendees. Many festival porta-potty rentals also offer wash stations, trailered units, holding tanks, and portable toilets for all outdoor events.
2. The Right Time
Timing is essential for the success of any festival. Consider the availability of the general public and pick a date and time when most people would be able to attend. It is generally best if a festival is spread out for 2-3 days to allow people multiple options. Ideally, pick a weekend that suits you and start your festival on Friday evening. It will give people two and a half days to attend! However, if you don’t have the budget for multiple days, hold the festival on a Sunday to get the maximum foot traffic.
While choosing a date, always check the weather forecasts beforehand. The worst thing that can happen is your festival derailed by rain and bad weather.
3. Find Sponsors
Whether you’re planning a food festival for your community or on behalf of your organization, it is bound to be expensive! The good news is that with the increasing popularity of food festivals, large brands are willing to sponsor and fund them. Make a list of companies participating in such events as part of their corporate social responsibility campaigns and take your budget and proposal to them. A pro tip is approaching prominent food & drink companies such as Pepsi.
Once you’ve locked down a sponsor, you’ll have the funds to host a fantastic event. However, ensure you don’t take on any brands or vendors that are direct competitors of your sponsor. Remember, an unhappy sponsor can quickly turn into your worst nightmare.
4. Finalize your Vendors
The soul of any food festival is the food on offer. Therefore, you have to ensure you take on vendors who can make delicious food so that your patrons get what they come for! Hold auditions or food trials for potential vendors so you can have a pool of new and upcoming eateries and home chefs in addition to established restaurants and cafes already setting up stalls. With a balanced variety of food stalls, there will be something for everyone at your festival.
Make sure all the menus are preset to offer small appetizer-sized options, and every stall offers at least one unique item that has not been offered by them before. This way, no booth will be overlooked as serving the same old items.
5. Get Marketing
Now that you’ve sorted the planning, it’s time to market your festival to ensure you get as many visitors as possible! Start using traditional as well as modern media platforms to spread the word at least four weeks in advance to build anticipation. Offer promotions and invest in entertainment. You can hire an up-and-coming singer or set up a mirror maze at the venue. There are plenty of ideas for fun-filled activities at a food festival.
Start selling tickets early to boost sales and create a perception of high demand. There will be less confusion at the time of the festival with fewer staff members handling ticket sales. There will be more time to focus on keeping discipline and handling issues.
Organizing events is no easy feat, and an event as grand and complicated as a food festival is bound to be a huge challenge. However, with the proper guidance and focus, you can make your festival a phenomenal success!
Just stick to the basics and work with your team to offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience to the people. We’re sure the city will remember your festival for years to come!