Gloria and I went to our first event at ValleyFest over memorial weekend! We had such a great time and met a lot of die hard chileheads and hot sauce lovers! ValleyFest Beer and Wine Festival at Massanutten Resort is an amazing event to go to even if you aren't a vendor. There are all kinds of beer vendors, so you can spend all day tasting different kinds of beer. Then when you are finished with beer, you can go to another section at the event and try different wines from various vineyards around the Valley! So if beer isn't your thing, then you'll have plenty of wine to taste! If you get hungry, there's plenty of food vendors offering a wide variety of foods. As if that wasn't enough, there are bands on two separate stages throughout the day playing some good tunes.
Memorial weekend is a lot of fun because it's also Gloria's birthday weekend, among some of our other friends; so we usually end up going out and having some fun. This was the first time we were going to ValleyFest as a vendor, instead of a consumer. It was interesting being on the other side of the fence this time, providing a service to people, instead of the ones being serviced. Gloria and I love making our hot sauce and enjoy getting the word out there about our company and the hot sauces we create.
It didn't take us long to get set up once we found out the location of where we were going to be for the event. Every vendor had their own designated area, that was marked with flags in a 10x10 area so we knew exactly where to put our tent. I really didn't know what to expect, but it went very smooth! Within 30 minutes we were ready to go! We were set up next to a very friendly couple out of Winchester, whose company Flavor Pourfection sold the most amazing vinegar we've ever tasted. After a quick tasting, we decided to buy a bottle of their Red Apple flavor right away before the event even started! Flavor Pourfection has a store located in Winchester, and we hope to visit it someday soon to try the other vinegar and olive oil flavors.
The event started off slow, providing a tasting here and there for a few couples that started in the wine and crafts area. After about an hour though, our Dragon Balls were ready to be served, and it was a constant mad house from then on! We had people lining up to taste our sauces, and we were selling more bottles of sauce than we ever had before. I was starting to worry that we didn't bring enough sauces! A lot of people didn't want to carry around their newly purchased Furious Sauce for the rest of the day, so we started holding everyone's sauces in our tent until the end. It was great thinking by Gloria because I never would have thought to have done that.
We met a lot of interesting couples, from young college kids to older chileheads who love great flavor. We also met a few crazy kids who just wanted food, like the gentlemen who came back a dozen times for our meatballs or the tipsy college student who told us our new bag of chips were stale. Providing tastings is such an exhilarating experience, and it's just a lot of fun to meet new people.
The real problem started when we began to run out of chips to provide tastings! Since we have mostly sold at the Harrisonburg farmers market, we really didn't know how much sauce to bring or how many bags of chips we should have on hand. Luckily we didn't run out and saved ourselves the embarrassment of not being able to provide tastings for our sauces.
Angry Assassin was the favorite sauce of the day. It's a tomato based sauce with a unique chipotle style flavor that creeps up on you after a little while. Unlike Dragon's Smoke, it doesn't have as much of a smoky flavor allowing it to pair well with a variety of foods.
All in all, we had a great time and left with a few key takeaways for our next event:
We have quite a few events coming up at the end of June all the way through July so be sure to check out our Events section either on our website or on Facebook for more info on where we are going to be at!