We felt like we had to tell you this story, since our vendors are getting scared away. Change is forthcoming. Please be patient.
When we first chose the town of Winchester for our festival, (turning down offers in Hunterdon, NJ) we did so because Big Fat Daddy’s has a long standing association with the county fair and we own property in Gore. We think the town of Winchester is beautiful, it’s one of our favorite places on earth. The location is great, close to neighboring West Virginia and minutes outside of PA and MD. The Panhandle seemed like a perfect place for a 3 day music and bbq festival, bring new people and get the town involved. Winchester we feel is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The fair board is very supportive of this event, and our main goal is to raise money for Cancer Care as well as getting some local non profits involved.
Big Fat Daddy’s will be selling food and maybe festival t-shirts. We will be instituting cheap admission (where can you go for $5- $8 –where can you go and see a days worth of bands?) We’ve dropped over 5000 free passes to the public because we want them involved. We want them to come, be a part of something fun to do, and buy from our vendors and support the festival.
Big Fat Daddy’s is the major sponsor of the event. We’ve had no other key sponsors. Panhandle Magazine has helped spread the word for us and work with us on advertising costs. This means we have basically funded it in entirety from our own money into this project renting the fairgrounds, the bands, the sound man, tshirts, advertising, banners, signs, security, tents, tables, chairs, etc……..and pledged up to $5300 in prizes whether we obtain enough competitors or not! Quick math on this is more than a top of the line new car. But why?
Cancer hit our family hard. It took my mother. Because of that it took my stepfather of a broken heart only months later and after 33 years of marriage to my mother. Cancer took my grandmother. My grandfather. It’s killing our family dog. It’s a cause. Something to raise awareness. Something important to us. So is helping the community. You may not know us or what we do. We’re not some big time promoters coming into the town to make a quick buck. You can read more about Wayne here.
Every Mother’s Day we get our family together and help raise money for Bell Socialization services in York, PA. They provide housing for people in transit – women out of abusive relationships get shelter and a way to start over. The homeless can seek shelter and find jobs and learn skills to make it in society. We’ve had a relationship with them for almost two decades. We ran a scholarship for three years in our hometown of Baltimore, the Anna Stickel Memorial Scholarship, to raise awareness due to a 14 year old girl who got killed by a train as she walked the tracks (probably listening to her ipod) on the way to school one day. This can happen to any of our children. We’d never met her, or to this day her family, but felt a worthy cause to send a message. We do work each year for and with several non profits to help raise money for their causes.
With that said, for Hogging Up, we are doing it to raise money for Cancer Care. We are working with the KCBS and have asked a local Winchester non profit to handle the beer/ wine thereby they will reap 100% of the proceeds – putting the money back into the town of Winchester and asking them only to donate something to Cancer Care. We won’t see a dime of this money. The town sees it. We feel good in knowing we are doing something to give back to the community. We told the volunteer fire department they are welcome to set up a donation tent. We want to support a community which we love and appreciate our EMS services.
What we didn’t know when choosing this location is that he town had old codes or rules, or whatever you wish to call them in place that initially are working against us instead of with us. We have been very vocal in trying to work to come up with solutions for us and our festival, to encourage change and exceptions. We are hopeful that change is on the way.
We felt we had to comment on this as it’s scaring our vendors away and vendors, we ask VENDORS for your patience in the matter. For instance, right now as it stands, any vendor who wishes to come to our event is responsible for their own permits and fees. The town does not currently have a special event permit, so thereby their permit fee is outdated and listed as an Itinerant vendor fee listed at $500 per vendor. This will show online on their form and of course, if you call they will reiterate this fee as it stands today.
(Who can afford that?) Not the small mom and pop crafter that’s for sure. Now we’ve received a lot of calls from locals who sell at the County Fair and the Apple Blossom and are wondering why this is. We can only state those events don’t have that problem because they are “community events” of which are run by non profit boards and are exempt from most of these hassles.
In addition Wayne and I are currently looking at additional fees, and will not know if these additional fees will get resolved. For instance, Wayne sells food each year at the County Fair at the same fairground and does not pay a meals tax. Here at the same fairgrounds for the Hogging Up Cancer Care Event he would have to collect and pay meals tax which would force him to raise pricing on food. This is again the way in which their codes are written as of now. We don’t feel right in passing these fees onto the public so again, more losses. Some may call these codes defunct, others discrimination, we just find them another obstacle in our way.
So, to be blunt, we raised absolute hell about this but we must remember they are just “old codes” and “not aimed at us personally.” We are trying to get our event straightened out because, honestly, what other choice do we have? It is too late in the game to move the festival so we are trying to make the best of it. At this point we don’t care if they hit us with fees but we are trying to protect our vendors.
Our event has received recognition from the Governor of Virginia and we know we are doing good. We can sleep at night. Cancer has touched all of us in some way, or someone we know and we remember the cause at hand and trudge forward. We personally feel it just shouldn’t be this hard to try to raise money for a good cause, or have a fun event for the community….
We are happy to report that some promises of progress may be made and soon by the powers that be in working to get these types of issues cleared up. They are diligently working on rewriting this code for a special event permit fee (reportedly around $30) by Mid March which will apply to our vendors. Perhaps then our event be classified as a community event, as we have been told which may help alleviate some other issues. We have not gotten all the clarification on it yet.
We have had the fair board offer to co-sponsor us, and even the wonderful MABBQA, but we don’t see why we should have to do this and redo everything this late in the game.
We are asking that our vendors who have called the tax office or pulled the form to hang in there, because we are pushing for change. Do not call them until April.
Of course this leaves us two months after the change to obtain enough vendors. If you know of a vendor who is thinking about coming please have them call us so we can warn them first!
We are asking for support from the community. Please spread the word about this event, come out and support us or ask your work if they will help us in some way. Eat our food. Buy our t-shirts. Ask your son or daughter to volunteer for a day.
Get your employers to help. We are still in need of a large generator for the competitors. Ask your employers what they can do. Can they help send some promo items, some freebies for our judges, or cover the cost of some signs? Can they help sponsor in some way?
We still need volunteers. We can’t do it without you and we are not a fancy commission or a huge corporation. We aren’t some big time promoters trying to get rich. We are Cindy and Wayne with two people and a passion for a cause.
Cindy and Wayne
Special thanks to our friends in West Virginia including book author Roger Engle and lovely wife Gula, Steve Harris from Circa Blue and our friends over at Pickin’ in the Panhandle for keeping us going on support.