Sunday, August 10, 2008

Checking In

I’ve been incommunicado this week because it has been Scandi Week.  Husband is half  Polish, half German…I am half Hungarian/Romanian and half WASP.  But for four days each August, for most of the last twenty years, we become honorary Scandinavians—in order to serve up mass quantities of food to large numbers of Oregon residents who are either genuine or, like us, temporary Scandinavians who gather every year in Junction City, Oregon.   Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time is familiar with our annual cultural transformation.

For the past six weeks, we have been investing evenings and weekends stockpiling  product destined for sale at this gig.  We’ve begged, borrowed and stolen freezer space for the more than 4000 puff pastry pockets we produced.   Even some of our regular customers at the café ponied up freezers for us.  We towed “Big Red” the trailer out of storage for its annual starring role.  We hung lights, arranged equipment, assembled costumes and ran around making last-minute purchases.  I spent five whole days away from the café.  (That was probably the hardest part of the whole thing…)

I had some trepidation about how the economy was going to affect our sales this year.  With gas still hovering around $4 per gallon, and the price of everything (including my product) going up accordingly, it was very possible that any less-than-affluent Scandinavian wannabes were going to have to take a pass on the festival this year.  Fortunately, there is no charge for admission, so if they just wanted to show up and walk around, they were welcome to do so.  Of course, that wouldn’t have meant a whole lot of profit for US…  But with a history of more sales in four days than we do in some months at the café, we could hardly afford to take a pass on the thing.  So we went for it.

At times, it looked like events were going to combine to guarantee failure.  Crappy weather was predicted for the weekend.  My insurance company “forgot” to send the proper forms to the event management.  Event management “forgot” to assign us a move-in time.  Up until two weeks before the festival, I was not sure I was going to have a source for one of the major ingredients in one of our best-selling items.   Why does something that we’ve done so many times for so many years—we should be able to do this with one hand tied behind our backs—have to be fraught with so many unknowns?  Just to make sure I get that ulcer I’ve been working on for the past two years, I guess…

In the end, the weather was perfect, attendance was down only a little, and we almost matched last years sales.  Missed it by a couple hundred bucks.  It could have been worse, I know.  Many of the other vendors were  very vocal about the lack of sales this year  So for me to see almost a carbon copy of last year’s numbers did not break my heart.   

So now, I’m home.  It’s almost midnight, but I’m too wound up to sleep.  Which will come back to bite me in the ass tomorrow morning when the alarm goes off at 6:15.  But, all in all, the week went well.  And I learned some things, which I plan to write about in future posts. 

Good night, all.  I’ve got about 6 ½ hours before I have to be up and at ‘em.


  1. Whoo Hoo. You go girl. Of course we all know you have the best food in the place. :-)


  2. What a relief that your gamble paid off!