I was really excited when I head about the Prince of Peace Craft Fair in Ormond Beach. It has a long history of success – this will be its 34th year! – and is fairly large, with over 50 vendors. I felt that it would be a good fit for my growing business, and I had reason to believe I would do well there. Unfortunately, from start-to-finish, this event was a complete fiasco. It was poorly advertised, difficult to book and completely mismanaged.
It began in September. A friend found the advertisement in the Penny Saver, and brought it to my attention. I immediately emailed the included contact, trying to book a table. After a week of waiting for an email response, I emailed again. Another week passed. This time, my only response was a few words, “Having trouble with email. Call me.” No number. I was lucky I keep everything and still had the ad clipping.
I called the next day, and was informed that the event was booked, but that there was a waiting list. There had been a cancellation, and the person ahead of me had already been given a table, so the organizer felt confident that I would be able to get a table. She was also going to talk to them about adding more tables, so the chances would be better than 75%. She would call me if something opened up.
I tentatively began to prepare for the event by laying in extra supplies, and creating more products. I had another event the same week – The District VI Meeting for the Garden Club at Palm Coast. (Review to follow.) I knew it would be tight planning two events close together, but the Garden Club event was small and intimate – very different from the big event at Prince of Peace – so I felt fairly confident I could make pieces which overlapped both events, and I wouldn’t be too tired to manage them both.
I received the phone call the second week of October. I was in! I mailed in my check with just a week to go before the event, and started doubling up products, in preparation for what would be the biggest event I’d done. I pulled many sleepless nights last week, and went to the Garden Club event on 2.5 hours of sleep, in order to have enough products for both.
Yesterday, I was informed – in a rather unprofessional manner – that the organizer had “overbooked the event” and didn’t “have a table for” me. I invested so much time and money into products that I was flabbergasted. Could she do this to me? Keep me dangling on the hook and then cancel me last minute? Whether it’s legal, or possible, she did. I’m now waiting for my booth check to be returned, and I’m hoping I’ll receive it in a timely fashion – but considering the slipshod manner in which this event was handled, I’m really worried.
Now, I’m very torn. I really thought this event, because of its size and longevity would be a winner. Should I attempt to get into this event again next year, hoping that if I try early enough I can manage a table? Or should I snub this event because of how I was treated? I’m extremely disappointed in the organizer of this event, and the event in general, so I’m not sure what to do.