Monday, April 15, 2013

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival 2013

This year's festival was a bit of a surprise for me; I held no expectations - I just got uber-prepared with lots of new stock, plus putting the store in "festival mode" for significant crowds.  Fortunately, our visitors were wonderful (and many, many numbered from out of state...even as far as Wisconsin!) plus we even made a little money!  There's a secret about Strawberry Festival that local officials have kept on the down low for the last few years...even though this is the largest free festival held in the state, people have stopped spending money.  I noticed it for sure but it's left townsfolk shaking their heads; I think its been more of a sign of economic strains...high gas prices and its taken a few years for our community to dig out of the BP Oil Spill.  So, I'm really thrilled that though this year wasn't like what we netted five years ago...we do seem to be on the upswing!  Plus, we gained so many new fans and exposure though the festival.  You have to understand we and our community plan ALL year for this special time; and it's that one time where we really come together as a community.

My favorite event is the parade held Saturday morning that crosses the town; local organizations, businesses and our farmers throw beads and goodies Mardi Gras style for a nearly two hour extravaganza.  It passes right by the store so we had a front row seat; Chico is back to being in fine health and had a great time!  And just for our Ponchatoula local girls, I had a local printer make me some "Toula Girl" cups based on my original design and they are just darling (and beer perfect, I must say).

Today, I'm berry tired and enjoying some R-n-R plus beginning the process of thinking "what's next" for the shop in next few months.  Part of my prep is a new cross stitch pattern launching *fingers crossed* this week.  It's been several months since my last release so definitely watch this space and my Etsy shop!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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