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Park County Fair in Powell, Wyoming

Done. Whew.

We arrived monday night at the Park County Fair in Powell, Wyoming with the added perk (for an additional $150) of having full RV hookups. After spending more than a month boondocking (camping in a RV without outside power, water, or sewer), having full hookups and unlimited POWER (read AC all the time) was like a weekend at the Hilton.

Strangely, the fair started on Tuesday and ran through Saturday (why not Wednesday through Sunday?). After I checked in and received our space assignment, I threaded the 34′ motorhome and 12′ trailer (15′ with hitch) through the maze of other vendors and buildings to get the trailer ‘close’ to our spot next to the grandstand. It was hot, I was tired, so we dropped the trailer and enjoyed air conditioning in the motorhome until the sun set and it starting cooling off.

I pulled out all the big pieces and set up the booth Monday night but came out early Tuesday to clean the donut machine and get everything prepped for the 11am start. This show ran from 11am to 10pm for the full 5 days. In reality, it actually ran from 11am to about midnight because the carnival closed at midnight and there was still a crowd. Add that up and I worked about 60 hours (plus setup, cleaning, and breakdown) in 5 days.

The first two days were frustrating. First, the organizers allowed WAY WAY too many food vendors into the fair. They had over 30 food vendors for a shows that only had about 35,000 attendee’s (reported). To make matters worse, they had another mini-donut vendor! At some shows the organizers just sell real estate in the form of 10×20′ spaces to whoever wants to show up. In this case, there was virtually no discrimination. There were 5 funnel cake vendors, 2 mini donut vendors, 4 frozen drink vendors, 4 pizza vendors, 2 gyro vendors, 4 BBQ vendors but surprisingly no ice cream vendors.

My spot had problems.

First off there were electrical problems. They claimed they had plenty of power, but I found out they ‘just’ rewired and, in a rush, failed to install 20amp GFCI outlets on the pole next to my booth. The first day, right at lunchtime, all my power went out and they had to call an electrician to come out and take a look. Three hours later, well after what lunch crowd that showed up was gone, the electricians replaced the GFCI’s with 20amp outlets and everything was fine. I estimate I lost about $60-$100 in sales.

The next day at almost the exact same time, the power went out. Again, the electricians were called and again three hours later, well after the lunch crowd was gone, the electricians reported the breakers were weak and replaced both breakers.

Sales were pretty dismal to that point. The first night I grossed about $250 in 11 hours. Not good. The second day, by the time the electricians were finished, I think I sold about $20 worth of drinks and no donuts. I went to the fair office and basically threw a fit. The glassied eyed older woman at the desk said in a bored voice, “talk to Steve.”

Steve, the head dude, came by and I put on a pretty dramatic version of discontent (arms waving and all) and basically put it to him to either reimburse me for the lost revenue or move me to a better spot on the midway (this location sucked). Of course, he agreed to let me move.

That night, Ray and I (Ray is a friend we met in Casper who worked the Kids Free Park for 10 & under children and was in Powell as well) moved the trailer, fully setup, around the corner about 80 feet to a better spot in the midway between the carnival and the fair. One of the BBQ vendors loaned me a trailer dolly to maneuver the trailer (Got to get one of those).

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were like night and day from the black hole that was my spot before we moved. Sales literally doubled plus. In the end after the five days, we made up for the deficit the first two days and actually made our bare minimum gross sales number of $500 per day in sales.

We soaked another day of full RV hookups and left on Monday to head towards Gillette, Wyoming for the Campbell County Fair.

Will we return? Probably. We kicked the other mini donut vendors butt on sales because of our booth and location. If we continue to work the Wyoming State Fair, it’s a decent show that may improve.

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