On 4 September 2021 I attended my very first live event since Christmas 2019, and wow, it was a good one!
I don't do a lot of in-person selling, because it's quite hard to find events that attract people who are interested in products that are both eco-friendly and handmade. Village hall craft fairs are generally not a good fit, as people expect things to be within a certain price range, which WombleKnits just can't compete with. So while I love manning a stall for the chance to engage with people in the flesh, see what they're interested in and get to talk to them and brainstorm with them for new ideas, I have to be very selective about the events I attend.
Imagine how excited I was, then, when I discovered an Eco Festival being planned last year. With a location in Colchester Castle Park, right in the middle of Colchester town centre on a Saturday when it would be filled with shoppers and families visiting the park... it couldn't have been better!
Until COVID hit and everything got cancelled. But the mighty eco-warriors planning the festival were undaunted and eventually rescheduled it for Saturday 4 September 2021.
And oh, what a wonderful day it was!
Over 50 stalls (they had to add more because so many sustainable businesses wanted to take part!) plus speakers, performers, e-cargo bikes, electric cars, and an array of eco-friendly, vegetarian and vegan food vendors. Plus apparently more than 3,500 visitors - lots of young families but also young couples, teenagers, older people - they all came!
I'd hoped to get to have a look around the other stalls, (I love browsing the work from all the other talented makers and ingenious upcyclers and usually go home with quite a few purchases!) but my own stall was so busy this time that I didn't get a chance!
Speaking of my own stall, this was the first time I'd ever done an outdoor event, so it was really exciting having a whole 3x3 metre tent to fill! I spent a lot of time mulling over how to set everything out, making the most of reusable display apparatus that was light enough that I wouldn't kill myself setting it all up, and I'm actually really pleased with the results.
Here's a closer look at some of the highlights!
My craft table with new fitted tablecloths (created by me from old duvet covers and sheets), displaying washcloths, soap saver sacks, nappy soakers, zero waste pompom hairclips and keyrings and other assorted gifts:
The back of my tent - a collapsible hanging rail with all my Christmas products (stockings, gift sacks, decorations, bottle and jar bags), and over on the left my own little work space where I got on with some knitting and sewing up in the short periods when there was no-one in my tent:
My autumn/Halloween section (the black tablecloth is actually my son's felt vampire cloak, since I realised the blue cloth I'd made for the table really wouldn't go with Halloween stuff!)
My second hanging rail with recycled yarn totes, market bags and bottle slings:
And here's another view of the whole thing:
All in all it was an amazing day, and wonderful meeting so many people interested in reducing their impact on the earth, as well as some lovely knitters and crocheters! If the Eco Festival is repeated next year, I will do it again in a heartbeat.
And I'm now looking forward even more to my next event: the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity Christmas Fair at Chelmsford Racecourse on 27 and 28 November 2021. I did that event back in 2019 and it was great then.
It should be even better this year, now that things seem to be getting back to normal again. Fingers crossed that nothing happens to cancel it...
It's actually quite difficult to find out about suitable shows and craft fairs now that everything's been out of action for 18 months, so if you know of any other events in the Essex area that WombleKnits might be a good fit for, do let me know!
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