I’m a firm believer in free samples, especlally at large gatherings like street fairs and parades; am open to new and unique products, especially when it comes to healthy food and drink. However, this street fair season I’ve so far been to two big street fairs and the Pride celebration (two days for the latter) and scored only three samples of various drinks -- two of which were not very healthy.
Of course it always helps if the product is actually going to be available in your local store. I’ve been introduced to products several times that I went so far as to ask my local Whole Foods if they could order, but never found them anywhere again.
Offering free samples to festival-goers, especially if it’s a new product you want to introduce, is an excellent way to let people know about it, much like Whole Foods offers samples inside the stores. How better to introduce people to a new product when they’re walking around in a more or less receptive mood outdoors, checking things out. So jeez, businesses, why not take advantage of such huge and diverse crowds – as in all ages and ethnicities – to show off your new wares. Tell us where to buy it in case it turns out we like the sample enough to search it out later.
Thought gays were one of the main targets of advertisers and businesses these days (along with Hispanics) when it comes to trying to win brand loyalties and introduce certain segments of the population to new products.
There’s just such a lack of imagination out there when it comes to offering freebies at these festivals. I’d think they’d especially want to market to gays and boomers-and-older who tend to be concerned about health and fitness and who’d be receptive to healthy new eats and drinks. Instead of peddling the same old junk.
The same old stuff was also for sale along the parade route at inflated prices, of course: bottled water, soda pop, and beer. And someone offering joints for sale.
The parade itself had too much of a gap between entries during the time I was watching on Market. Too impatient to just stand around and wait several minutes between floats or whatever. And of course so many politicians show up at parades. So tell me something that will give me a good reason to vote for you … I’m not easily impressed.
In past years at the Pride celebration area there were stacks and stacks of fat, glossy, colorful free magazine-programs with interesting articles that I’d pass on to a friend after looking through my copy. This year they passed out very thin B&W newspapers as program handouts. Boring! In past years I’d also come home with a backpack full of goodies, including various magazines and free samples that I didn’t immediately consume at the fair.
At all the festival gates admission is always free to everyone, but they do request donations of $5.00 and for this you’ll get $1.00 off if you buy a drink. It used to be I’d be able to walk around with a Margarita or two in hand -- which did put me in a better mood -- but not these days at $8.00 a drink! So for the past couple of years I’ve had to go drinkless.
To see the same unimaginative offerings at the booths at outrageous prices every year is also boring. I guess going to such events for so many years has caused me to be quite jaded.
I suppose it’s different if you have lots of money to spend … or if you’re young lovers, or actively searching out a friend for the evening … or coming out for the first time … or an easily impressed tourist …
While these fairs aren’t exactly what I’d like to see, and the immediate neighborhoods not my usual hiking destinations, still get some exercise and vitamin D by going to check them out year after year. A good shirt for me to be wearing today would’ve been one I’ve seen online that says “I’d Rather be Hiking.”
The stink of tobacco fumes and the accompanying health issues is a gigantic turnoff to me also, but in a crowd like this one can’t really avoid the smokers. Saw a guy puffing away who was pushing a baby in a stroller.
To look on the positive side, however, the people-watching is always good – colorful costumes on many fairgoers and in the parade, including the always appreciated drag queens; excellent weather; and the huge crowd was, as usual, enthusiastic, polite, and well-behaved.
Will attend the two-day Fillmore Jazz Festival next weekend. This has traditionally been an interesting festival for the various music as well as some interesting shops for me to check out once a year; and this is one of the longer street fairs. If I see something I like at one of the stores I can always return later to buy it. Used to be able to get inexpensive sticks of incense at a booth here and at the Pride celebration area, but not in the last few years.
The pic is from a hike up the Sutro Heights Park stairway (approx. 117 steps) in the wild dunes part of the park on the south side with Ocean Beach to the right. The top of these steps is always colorfully graffitied.