Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"It's Chic to Reek"...another year of Stinkin' fun!

It was a beautiful morning early Saturday October 9th. I loaded my car with the final items we would need that weekend, then a quick "see ya" to Luke and Eleanor Rigby (our cat) and I was off to Amherst.

It was a gorgeous quiet drive as the air was crisp and the leaves were continuing to reveal their autumn wardrobes leaf by colorful leaf. The sun was shining and spreading it's rays across a sleepy town as folks were beginning to get up and move about. I was headed out to the 20th annual Wine and Garlic Festival hosted by Rebec Vineyards, you can read more about this year's festival here. Richard Hanson and the folks over at Rebec have graciously allowed Endstation to set up a booth since 2006 and we were prepping to set up camp for a 5th year.

I drove up 29N to the familiar U-Turn spot and headed to the gravel road entrance into the vineyard. I pulled up with vendor pass in hand and greeted Chuck who smiled as he recognized the Endstation shirt. I was able to pull right up to our booth and started unloading the supplies and wares we were going to be selling that day. I moved my car to the vendor spot, walked back to our booth and begin busying myself with set up. Just a few minutes had passed and I heard the very familiar "Hey Maria" from the Artistic Director himself, Geoffrey Kershner followed closely behind by his lovely and beautiful fiancee Ashley Zach, Endstation's resident Marketing Director and Box Office Manager. They had driven up from Florida the evening before and it was great to see them.

It was Ash's first time at the festival and it was fun to watch her discover all the amazing things various vendors had to offer (specifically very reasonably priced shallots and goat cheese!) We quickly finished the rest of the set-up and waited for the patrons to begin arriving. We had brochures to hand out about the 2011 Season, posters reflecting the 2010 season, wine holders and tee-shirts for sale, and an awesome wine/picnic basket raffle (or "raffly" as Jeff Price called it when convincing patrons to participate).

Geoff had recruited several folks to come over and help run the booth throughout the day, so as the morning and afternoon progressed we got to enjoy the company of good friends while simultaneously promoting Endstation to the Garlic Festival attendees. At one point we got dubbed the "party tent" since our booth was a happening spot for both friends of Endstation and folks who were hearing about us for the first time.

Of course there was one lovely lady that we definitely missed. The now "Mrs." Krista Franco (Co-Founder and Resident Scenic Designer) has not missed a Garlic Festival since Endstation first set up a booth. Here she is with our friend Victor at the 2009 Garlic Festival.

However we made sure to eat plenty of Garlic popcorn in her honor! MISSED YOU KRISTA!!

It was a fun Saturday for sure! At the end of the day we packed up, covered our area with a tarp to protect it from the overnight dew and went on with our evening activities. Sunday morning was just as beautiful and crisp as the day before. I made a quick stop at the Endstation office and was on my way to the Festival for Day 2. I drove in, greeted Chuck, parked my car and headed to our booth. I set up the area with all of our stuff and settled in to wait for patrons. Sunday mornings are usually pretty quiet around the festival with things picking up sometime around noonish. My Garlic Festival Sunday AM tradition has always been to grab a smoothie from one of the amazing vendors across the way. This time I added a fresh made pretzel braid to the mix and I was all set.

Two of our new board members stopped by the booth and we chatted for a while and they let me know how excited they were about Endstation and how much they were looking forward to the Fall Board meeting that afternoon. It is always nice to hear encouraging words about the company and see folks that are enthusiastic and in full support!

The morning carried on and I met all sorts of people from all over the country who were either visiting friends/family or had come in for the festival specifically. Since I was going to have to scoot out and back over to SBC, Luke showed up right around 12:30 to take over. He was just in time too as there were some dear friends who happened to be visiting the booth at that time.

I gave him the run-down of everything he needed to know, strapped on my backpack and made a bee-line for my car. I saw JD on the way out and pointed him in the right direction as he was going to be covering the booth for the afternoon as well.

We had an excellent board meeting with the Endstation board that afternoon, and looking ahead toward 2011 and beyond is an exciting thought.

We ended the meeting just in time, and I packed up and got ready to head back to the vineyard to tear down the booth. Luke called me while I was on my way and let me know that he and JD and taken care of "strike" already and had everything packed and ready to go. What gems! I got back on site and between the three of us carried everything back out to my car. We paused a minute to pick the winner of the raffle. As you can see JD made sure not to peak so there was no cheating!

Luke headed to his car and I drove JD back to his, we said so long and went our separate ways. I headed out of the vineyard and back down 29 toward home. The sun was hanging low in the sky and I smiled thinking back over the weekend. It was a great time over all between spreading the word about Endstation, friends old and new, the great food, excellent wine, and fantastic weather.

We have big plans for the coming months as we head into another planning season. You won't want to miss a minute as the journey continues and unfolds, so make sure to keep checking back for updates!

Till next time~

Maria Hayden
Company Manager