Organising a Local Food Festival – Tips and Advice

With temperatures finally beginning to increase once more, summer – and crucially, festival season – is once again on the approach. Organising a festival is supremely rewarding, if a little stressful. It is also a great way to unite your community, especially if it’s centred around good food and good company. But if you’ve never organised a food festival before, it can be hard to know where to begin. Look no further! The following tips will help you pull a food festival together no problem.   

Determine Your ‘Why’

Before you even begin to put pen to paper, you should take a moment to consider why you want to put the festival together at all. Are you intending to bring a local community together? Are there independent businesses you want to champion? Are you hoping to raise money for a charity close to you? Or are you hoping to build a brand identity as an events planner? The ‘why’ of your food festival will greatly inform how you approach pulling it together, and ensure you keep focus throughout the planning stages.

What’s the Target Audience?

With an understanding of why you want to organise the food festival, your next concern will be its target audience. This can influence wider aspects of your food festival, from the venue to the kind of alternative attractions you provide. For example, an older target audience might see you incorporate child-friendly game areas in order to accommodate parents.

Choose Your Venue

Your next choice relates to the venue you’d like to host the food festival in. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with other local businesses, and could also increase the profile of your festival as a result. Town halls are popular for community events, while local field space could be good for an outdoor ‘food truck’ festival.

Local breweries or taprooms could also be a good choice; they might not charge as much to host the festival as a town hall or other events space – and could even waive any charges altogether if partnered with the right way – and would also be a draw thanks to their own products.

The Food

The most important part of your festival, of course, is the food. While – perhaps thankfully – you won’t necessarily be on the hook to cook it, you’ll still need to give significant time to searching out and hiring the right food vendors for your event. This can go a number of ways; vendors might charge their standard fee for attendance, or you could offer a percentage of the festival’s take instead. The latter is a risk for both you and the vendors, but can be a draw for a festival expecting larger numbers.

Sorting Promotion

If you’re new to the festival game, you won’t have an established brand to rely on – and will be drumming up interest from square one. As such, you’ll need to utilise both online and offline strategies; targeted ads to your chosen demographic on social media sites are an effective choice, alongside flyer-ing the local area to drum up community interest. You’ll also want to invest in colourful banners to signpost entrances, and maybe even entice on-the-door custom from passers-by.

Other Attractions

While food is naturally the main draw, you will want to make sure there’s enough reason for patrons to stay even if they’ve eaten their fill. Hiring DJs can help create a fun atmosphere, while ensuring a range of drinks are available will give customers another reason to stick around. Providing party games and play areas for children means parents can let their hair down – and will also struggle to leave!

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