RE: Kettle corn stand - help!!!
Man: We operate a concession trailer and work only festivals and events. We do no street vending and I don't believe kettle korn would work well for street vending either. At almost every event we work there is a kettle corn booth but normally only one. Perhaps when you are being told NO it is because they already have one signed up or one that has been there in years past. We are from the midwest (Kansas) so I can't help you any on Florida rules and regs. It seems like government people never return emails. When we wanted to get our trailer inspected, I walked in to the regional office for the State Department of Health, walked up to the counter and said "I'm here to pick up the health permit for my trailer". The lady looked confused and said "Well you will have to get it inspected first" That got me started and when I left I had the phone number of the inspector and the rules and regs. If I had emailed her I would probably still be waiting.
As to getting into events, that is tough. Most of the major events already have vendors that have been there in the past and return year after year. Our state has a web site run by the Department of tourism that list every craft show, festival, fair and activity going on. In Kansas, they update it every December and last year was our 1st year so in February I searched the list and found almost 200 events taking place within 100 miles of our location during the year. I emailed every one asking for applications and guess what, I got a total of 8 replies so you can forget email. I started working 3 months in advance and used the telephone and snail mail. As a result we were booked every weekend from the middle of April through the end of October, with the exception of 2 weekends (we decided to take a vacation). Everyone thinks working a booth or trailer is the hard part. The real hard and time consuming part is booking the events.
Don't think you have to work a great big event to make money and get started. A lot of communities will have one day street fairs, flea markets, craft shows and such. There may even be new festivals that are starting up and you can get your foot in the door for years to come. Of course you must remember, "sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince" We have booked about 24 shows this year and out of them I rated 12 as good, 7 about average and 5 were poor and we won't be back next year. You will find your first year is trial and error and believe me, you will learn a lot. Just hang in there and keep swinging. A home run is nice but remember a single is still a base hit. Good luck.