Exploring and Vending the Colorado Faerie Festival
Saturday, 7 August 2010
* Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States of America *
Sir Thomas Leaf packed up his Steampunk Time Travelling “Isis Adventure” Van/vardo with Tree Leaves Oracle merchandise and at the wee hours of the morning, heading out to Vermijillo Park where a supposed portal would appear for a manifestation of faeries as the “Colorado Faerie Festival“. As excited as he was for a Colorado gathering of Faeries, he was a little on the edge of caution and hesitance with this festival as no one in the local Faerie/Faeid/Otherkin/Pagan communities were aware of who this organizer who was putting it on was or where he’s from, or his intent with all this. Regardless about what the Colorado Spring fae were saying, Sir Leaf figured he should vend it and give it a chance (even though it had the ridiculous price tag of $100 for vending at a poorly advertised event with no entertainment to speak of except the vendors). (He’s used to vending Pagan festivals and community events where the merchant booth is usually $5-30 for a day, and most 3-5 day outdoor festivals at $30-100 for the full week) (Unless its a “commercial” based venue that is guaranteed to attract “thousands” of attendees … which this certainly was not)
Sir Thomas Leaf arrived at the park and set up as quick as he could. Vendors had already started setting up camp. Alot of work for a half day venue. (10 am to 6 pm) It took awhile to find the organizer who was busy coordinating and helping people set up. Leaf’s enthusiasm started to turn upwards as he began to think it would be a good turnout and maybe some of the fae commmunity would be coming and maybe his attendance would be worthwhile. Wouldn’t see any of the local Goth community he figured as they were having their annual picnic in the park elsewhere even though he tried to lure them to move their picnic here.
Sir Thomas Leaf’s friend Lady Sue came by and set up the Vermijillo Community Garden into a Faerie Garden of sorts to entertain attendees. While no officially part of the festival, it brought joy and community spirit to the event. She had rock painting and gave tours of the garden. She also introduced Leaf to her most wonderful Little School on Vermijo. He met her wonderful sons who wanted to come on board as crewmates with his upcoming Pirate ship at Pirate Relief. Sir Thomas highly admired Lady Sue’s most wonderful faerie costume and wings. Especially the little catchy phrase on the back of the wings … (See picture below).
Some of the vendors had some good setups and selections – that was promising. Luckily he scored a good parking spot before they were all gone as parking became a problem quickly as the morning progressed. His friends Kathy and Rocky showed up and helped him watch the booth as well as adding in some of Kathy’s spectacular faerie wings. Busy packing and unpacking, fighting some wind gusts coming in through the park (as usual breaking something or other). Leaf’s roommate Q showed up to do some professional photography and some local as well as long distance fae appeared in full garb as well as some Renaissance Faire folk. Some young fae played in the park and some of the attendees did add in some entertaining spirit as they frolicked around the park as they all awaitied the musical entertainment to show up. (which was pretty late into the day after much of the crowds left earlier) Radio London by late afternoon was set up and started performing (unfortunately as storms threatened in the skies and winds played mischief on the booths). Attendees had fun though little purchasing took effect for the merchants.
As attendance disappeared since there was no entertainment to keep the attendees captivated to stay all day. Add in threatening skies with merchandise blowing over and breaking – it was time to call it quits Sir Leaf thought. As he packed up he noticed other merchants had the same idea as the bulk of them starting packing down (few hours earlier than billing had it to end). Leaf was disenheartened that he was coming out at a loss and surveyed some of the other vendors finding that most of them came out at a loss. This wasn’t really a “festival” persay, it was more of a “market” Leaf thought. The organizer was kind enough to ask how he did and after telling him the low sales – the organizer cut the price of the booth to make up for some of the loss as he last minute paid for the booth. This act of community, combined with how un-organized and non-chalant the event was especially with getting the booth fee till the very end – started to make Leaf feel the organizer might actually be community oriented rather than profit oriented. That he liked and started to believe there might be hope for this Colorado Faerie Festival enterprise that this guy set up. He had positive news to report back to the local fae.
However, it was to be played with caution as the organizer was not part of the local fae community nor had he made any attempts to including them in this venture. Leaf himself had learned about the festival just a few weeks prior, barely enough time to plan for it and get the booth into it … but was very appreciative for being permitted such late entry. Positive things were said about this organizer through the vending circle though … so hope was made on the upswing that this might be beneficial for the local community after all. Apparently though, much to Sir Leaf’s surprise, he discovered that this organizer was planning a Faerie con called Mysticon. Of course it was oddly mimicking the organizational layout of Faerieworlds with its Good Faerie/Bad Faerie Balls and too similarly named after Mysticon in Virginia that has been around since the 1980’s. Copycat-ing is never received in good taste. Not to mention there is already a science fiction convention in the same hotel at the same time called Cosine. It just doesn’t look well thought out, Leaf pondered.
It is important to research what is already existing and not to copy something already in place. It is important to be Unique and not ride on the coat-tails of others. “Oh Well”, Sir Thomas Leaf figured … He’ll check out the web site and see what its all about. The organizer, while not Fae, seemed to be a nice guy … and maybe for once, someone is really out to do something nice for the fae … rather than try to cash in on them. (Put the faerie in a cage and charge admission to see them ~ old Victorian stunt)
Sir Thomas Leaf, Sir Rocky, and Lady Kathy all caravaned to Sushi Ring for a fabulous “All you can eat” Sushi feast. Good times, good eats. After bidding farewell, Sir Thomas Leaf returned to the Hobbit Hole Cottage in the foothills of Cheyenne Mountain. Unpacked his inventory and settled into a early night with some blogging and research online.
After that evening’s research on the event, Leaf decided he would NOT vend Mysticon because of those above elements, because of lack of faerie community support or inclusion, and because the event was obviously “commercially” driven rather than “community” driven with yet poor advertising as was evidenced with this festival. Plus he noticed there was no listed entertainment and didn’t have much online about the event. Yet they were charging $350-400 for a booth. “Really?” Leaf thought … “Are they crazy?” He decided then and there he would not be part of it. Leaf had an inbox full of invites from travellers to the Burn that were willing to port his gear for him if he flew in with his air elf friend. Off to sleep … dreaming of his next adventure …. and how packed his life was with travels … sad that he didn’t have a partner to share it with, to travel with, but realizing that because he was constantly on the go travelling around he doesn’t leave much of a chance for partner’s to grow and meld with him since many of them can’t pick up and go on the crazy adventures with him. “Sigh” fluttered Leaf. Off to sleep. [Close or inner circle friends of Leaf can read his views on being single on Livejournal or Facebook.]
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Continue reading Chronicles: August 7, 2010: Colorado Faerie Festival and Preparations for Burning Man