The town of Sudbury went all out to celebrate it’s 375th anniversary. They combined a large craft fair, tons of music and a fireworks show all in one day at their high school. We got invited because we’ve been doing plenty of other events in Sudbury like the Paws In The Park and The Colonial Faire. We were popping in Sudbury 2 weeks ago at their Olde Time Fair – this event was basically a warm up to this 375th celebration. Needless to say, Sudbury loves us and we love Sudbury.
Some of our most intense popping days are right before fireworks displays. It’s past dinner, it’s getting dark and everyone wants to a bag of kettle corn to munch on while they watch the show. We sold a crazy amount of kettle corn at the Assonet Fireworks back in 2012. If you can be right next to the spot where the crowd forms and get the wind to blow your cooking aroma across them, the whole thing feeds on itself and you end up getting murdered with ravenous customers. Today we ended up planting our tent right across the bandstand and were armed for bear. I took (5) 50 lb bags of popcorn with me that day. There was no way I was going to run out.
The day starts fine, but we didn’t get a crazy amount of business. They had asked a ton of other food vendors to be there, typically we can’t compete with real food like BBQ stuff when lunch time rolls around. They also had two ice cream trucks hammering the kids. By the time 4 o’clock rolled around, we were only up a hundred bucks each. Not a biggie, we thought the real killing was to be had when it got dark. All of a sudden a massive thunder storm front came through with tornado watches and everything. Gale force winds picked up, drenched everyone and the customers scattered. So much for our big day. We thought today would’ve been our biggest day of the year, but the weather screwed us.
Boy do we love Sudbury, Massachusetts. We’ve been doing the Colonial Faire at the Wayside Inn for a few years now and have built up a pretty good following. The town of Sudbury is having their 375 celebration and one of the events is this Olde Time Fair which was held on August 23rd. Apparently someone from the town knew our of kettle corn from the Wayside Inn event and asked us to be here. We jumped all over the chance. We’ve got a bunch of people who are loyal followers of our product from the other Sudbury events, and they didn’t disappoint.
The location was sort of in a weird spot – it was centered around the small town common, which is at the crossroads of two busy streets. It was a pain in the butt to get our trailer in it’s final spot. Tons of people were there for the day to see the pony rides and other critters. We sold 8 oils worth of kettle corn – the same amount we did last week at the Framingham Farmers Market (which is just down the street). These types of events where you have people who have already tried your product tend to do really well. Typically we don’t sell many large bags if nobody knows who you are, but the regulars were really gobbling everything up.
We’re really getting torqued up for the Sudbury Field Day event on September 6th. There’s gonna be concerts and fireworks that day, all 10 hours of it. We’re going to be exhausted and hopefully this will be our record day of the season. We learned that the Colonial Faire will have extra people this year because of the 375 celebration, so it should be close between the two events.
These coporate gigs are nice, when they happen. We got bought out for the day by the Fontaine Outpatient Center in Harwich, MA. They had a grand “re-opening” picnic event where they basically coerced people to show up with free hamburgers/hot dogs, ice creams and kettle corn. The event ran for 3 hours.
They did a postcard mailing to around 20,000 people on Cape Cod. They were expecting about 300 people, but it’s almost impossible to make that amount of full size bags in 3 hours. Instead we cut the bags in half and made (300) 3 oz. bags (see the photo below). This worked out great because we got mostly older people coming by and a regular big bag would’ve been too much for them. They basically paid us ahead of time to make that amount – we just popped and gave away bags to anyone who wanted one. We hit it right on the money, when 4 o’clock rolled around we had a few bags on the table and a couple of employees grabbed that last few. We also got to stuff our faces with a bunch of hamburgers and ice creams bars for free. Not a bad gig when you can get them.
Velma’s ‘Wicked Delicious’ Kettle Corn is located in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. We travel with our popcorn machine to different locations in the New England area.
We’ll show you our Kettle Corn recipe. Feel free to burn a couple of your own pots and pans at home while trying to recreate it without a popcorn popper. It’s not easy!
Want to start your own kettle corn business? How does being your own boss in an all cash business grab ya? We’ve written a 60 page ebook which goes into detail on what you’ll need and where you’ll find it!
Looking for a popper in your area? Skiddaddle on over to our Kettle Corn Directory to find someone who pops local to you. Are you a kettle corn vendor? G’wan over there and add your link. It’s free! Note: It’s not updating at the moment, I gotta fix the stupid directory software.
Here’s a new spot for the 2014 season – the Sharon Farmers Market at the Cresent Ridge Dairy (in Sharon, MA). We’ll be here every Saurday from 10 am – 2 pm, all the way till the end of October. We were looking to rework our popping schedule last year and tried a bunch of different farmers markets. We discovered this market at the end of the season and gave it a whirl for the last 3 weeks in October. It was a brand new market that started that year and we weren’t sure how well it would pan out. We did descent traffic for an end of the season market so we’re back this year to see what happens. At the moment it’s keeping pace with our Framingham location, and we’ve been there for 7 years. We’ve noticed a sort of sales curve for the season – our best week is usually the first week of August in all of our locations. If Sharon fits this curve, we should be doing pretty well later in the year.
The layout looks pretty good. It’s on a main road with good visibility. The Cresent Ridge Dairy has been selling ice cream from this location for years, so plenty of people naturally come here. Groups of people were still showing up at 2 o’clock to get ice cream when we started to break down. The owner agreed to sell some bags inside their store during the rest of the week, we ended up selling 2 of them before we left the parking lot because we were out of stock.
You’ll find some farmers markets tucked away in obscure spots and it’s totally up to the market manager to drive traffic. Many of these types of places can end up up doing poorly. The Sharon farmes market has a ton of things going for it. They also have a marketing team promoting the farmers market itself. Haven’t seen that anywhere else, so we’re impressed with the effort they’ve put into making it work.
In addition, you can pet some cows and goats out back. It’s a whole legit dairy farm operation so it’s kind of a neat place to explore, hang out and get some crazy yummy ice cream.