Our goal was to bring people to the Frederick County Fairgrounds, revenue into Clear Brook, and to help 4 non profits in the process. (3 local, 1 national non profit. ) Friday we had a great start, until the rains came and wiped out some of our vendors products and tents. Saturday the Winchester Star, a few magazines and TV3 news showed up in addition to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Then the rains came and again our vendors went though chaos. By Sunday everyone was exhausted. It was a long and hot and rainy weekend, but we did what we set out to do. We raised awareness and did the best we could on a first year festival on a shoe string budget with no major sponsorships.
Many people complained they couldn’t taste samples although this was stated in the Winchester Star. In this case it’s not that our competitors didn’t want to give them, but the Frederick County Health department would have charged every competitor $40 and put them through a health inspection, just to hand you a piece of meat. Even out sauce guy who gave samples on crackers had to get one.
People were wondering what the admission covered. Our ads told everyone to go to http://www.hoggingup.com where you could pull the schedule and see the fees and what bands were playing what days. The $5 on Fri and Sun or $8 on Saturday had you the ability to hear several great bands that you may otherwise pay $10-$20 each to hear at some other venue. And free Cornhole, to see a real Blue Angels plane, etc etc. Nothing is free anymore. Putting on a festival, even if it’s small takes money.
We’ve heard the cries about the beer tent not being open, and the lack of local wines, but this task was given to the Local Winchester Exchange group who received 100% of the profits. It was their staffing needs we had to work around and like any volunteer group, it’s hard to find dedicated people and staffing on such long hours. You want more activities, more free things, more local wines, more food and more fun, and we hear you. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
This festival was dedicated to my mom, who passed for unknown reasons after beating cancer, and who took her broken hearted husband with her only 7 months later. They both would be proud, that I didn’t give up when the county made it hard, or when we couldn’t obtain key sponsors, and the community support didn’t come until the day of my festival. I carried on anyways. My mom taught me one thing, you can do anything you set your mind to and try to make a difference.
For you haters I can only assume MOST OF YOU don’t live in Clear Brook, or in the Winchester community. If you did, you’d never complain about spending $5 admission or $8 with a full day of bands all of which helps support local causes. Like the Clear Brook Volunteer fire department whose staff is dwindling an they had to pull from several stations to help us. Or, the Assembly of God church whose doing good for the young people in the community. Or supporting the Local Winchester Exchange whose money goes for many different causes in their community. Or eating at the food stands who were donating to CancerCare.org. CancerCare.org may just be helping someone you know get free counseling to deal with cancer, or find out advice on how to pay their uncovered insurance bills.
Truth is, we wanted your feedback, and we appreciate the positive feedback we received from our teams, judges, TV-News 3, Winchester Star and the Attorney General. We know we have a lot to work on. No one understands how much expense and work you have with a festival. From the bands to sound to ASCAP and BMI fees, dumpsters, grey water, port a johns, security, ice, fairground rental, permits, permits, permits, radio and print ads, and staffing………for us, we put in about $20K with the help of our family and friends manpower.
It was never about getting the money back or breaking even, which we didn’t and most first year festivals don’t. We knew this. Heck, we even hear about State Fairs and Big Bluegrass festivals having to restructure. For us, this was personal, it was about raising awareness, and money, and bringing something new to the very fairgrounds that no one has ever before.
That we did. ❤
Next year, will we do it? We’re not sure. If we do, we will need your help to make it a bigger and better event. In the meantime, life is too short. Give when you can.
We would like to thank:
Ask Neal for being the first to donate to Cancer Care and working on a shoestring budget.
Diehl Wilson for bringing his truck.
Col. Steven Blevins for lending us his plane.
MIK Woodworking for donating his time and expertise.
Mario Ordonez for putting up with me.
Eric Fargo for his fargo-tastic photos.
Around the Panhandle Magazine.
Steve Black for the electrical wizardry, ATM’s and his super cool vintage fire truck.
Pastor Stephanie for ignoring me freaking out on the walkie talkie.
The Assembly of God Church for their volunteering.
The Local Clear Brook Volunteer Fire Dept for staffing our mobile First Aid station.
Roger Engle for the counseling sessions and Gula for her encouragement.
Richard Leight for believing in us.
The Frederick County Fairgrounds for hosting our event.
Winc 92.5 FM and Barry for your support.
The Bone for rocking out our festival.
Z104.9 Today’s Fresh Country for playing us to the max.
Joe Boyd for the shout outs.
Danny & his Motorcycle gang for bringing it.
The Winchester Star for Jumping on Board.
NV Daily for the mentions.
The Attorney General of Virginia
TV-3 for coming out and doing a great job.
Jay Tibbs for dedicating the “all other duties as assigned” to my phone calls.
Ellen Murphy for coming out and judging.
John Riley for getting the country to change the vendor permits from $500 to $30.
Stoney Creek for working with us.
Circa-Blue Steve Harris who helped cross promote our event.
Jordan McWhorter for being a lovely soul you are going big places remember me when you get there.
Dangerous Mood for your numerous performances and support.
Kirsten Sowers for being so wonderful and dedicating your Saturday to us.
Avey Music for bringing it.
Burnt Orange Band for jamming out.
Gary Smallwood I am your biggest fan. That Voice is amazing.
Scott Cruse for all the suggestions.
Reddy Ice for helping us end up at good pricing.
Johnny Blue for working with us on the pricing.
Ridge Runner Container for helping us with our limited budget.
Carlyle and Anderson for the Gator. LOVE YOU WILL>
Signscape for donating signs.
Signet Sign and Screenprinting for the Sponsorship.
Hatfield for backing us as always Nicks Sausage rocks.
Randy and Carol Bigler for helping us all the while and making my contest shine.
Mike and Michelle Lackey for donating time for the BBQ Demonstrations
Michelle Lackey for her dedication, input, help and for introducing me to StrawberryRitas.
Dan Hixon for donating time for the BBQ Demonstrations and his expertise input.
Grand Rental Station (Jeff) for the help with tables and chairs.
Theresa Gaines and Courtyard Marriott for the rates and prizes!
Grove’s Harley Davidson for the donations!
CiCi’s Pizza, Longhorn, K-Mart, Fred’s Tasty Licks and MIK Woodworking for product donations.
Carl and Candy Hill Campground for the cross promotion.
Suburban Propane for the gas to cook with.
The Hilton for the great rates.
Winchester Exchange for handling the libations.
John Bryant thanks for bringing big muscle guys.
Billy Keefer for all his help and raising up sponsor donations.
Our Wonderful BBQ Competitors, some of which gave back their winnings!
All of our Vendors & Special Guests.
Kathy Groves for the long talks.
My husband Wayne M. Schafer for investing all his Big Fat Daddy’s money in a final closing for my family and I to make our passed ones proud.
and those who came out to support our cause. ❤
We are now taking a much needed break!!!!