Frequently Asked Questions

For vendors, attendees and speakers

Who is the Venture Local Fair for?

The first day, Friday Sept. 25th is a ticketed conference geared towards entrepreneurs, localists, policy makers and those interested in building better business and exploring innovative and democratizing models. The second day, Saturday Sept. 26th is a free street fair for independent artisans, makers and service providers to exhibit and sell their wares and for anyone interested in handcrafted goods and inspiring, talented creators and dedicated vintage collectors.

The Venture Local Fair showcases national leaders in the local movement and some of the best handmade art, food and beer in Western North Carolina. Tickets for Friday’s conference will go on sale in August of 2015. Please sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media, as we expect this highly anticipated event to sell out.

All regional crafters and artisans are encouraged to submit their work for consideration for a booth on Saturday. We invite the public to attend this free and family friendly street fair and enjoy high quality crafts, arts, vintage finds, local food, local beer and entertainment.

Nestled in the South Slope of downtown Asheville, attendees will experience the resurgence of this area from a blighted neighborhood to a thriving collective of entrepreneurial ventures in the historic mill and manufacturing buildings of Buxton and Banks Ave.

Where & when is this event being held?

The Venture Local Fair is an annual festival in the historic South Slope area of downtown Asheville.

The conference on Friday, September 25th will primarily take place at Catawba Brewing on Banks Ave. and breakout sessions will occur at both Catawba and Twin Leaf Brewery.

The street fair on Saturday, September 26th will take place from noon – 6pm on both Buxton and Banks Ave. Over 100 vendor booths will line the streets with live music, local food and beer. Many surrounding businesses will have special programming the day of.

Where can I park?

Friday conference attendees should find adequate street parking in the South Slope on Buxton, Banks, Coxe and Church. For Saturday attendees, within a few blocks of the South Slope there are several parking garages and lots, as well as on-street parking. All are within walking distance. See map. The following locations typically offer your first hour free:

  • Wall Street Parking Deck
  • ALoft Hotel Parking Deck
  • Civic Center Parking Deck
  • Rankin Parking Deck

After on-site load-in, Saturday vendors should be able to find on street parking spaces within easy walking distance to the event.

Please remember to pay if you park in a metered spot. The city requires you to pay $1.25/hour from 9am – 6pm both Friday and Saturday.

What can I expect to see?

The conference on Friday will host engaging workshops, nationally recognized speakers and fascinating ideas on how to grow a resilient and dynamic local economy that works for everyone.

On Saturday at the street fair, you’ll find the best handcrafted goods in the region. We welcome the wild, the beautiful, the outrageous and the simply demure in the following categories: prints and originals in 2D art, ceramics, glass, wood, metal, fiber art, jewelry, clothing, accessories, paper goods, toys, pet accessories, home goods, garden and more.

We will also feature a community of seekers, thrifters, finders and collectors. They will bring fantastic found objects and treasures of yesteryear for your thrill and enjoyment.

Need a massage, a haircut or a poem written just for you? The street fair brings an astounding variety of vendors and talented folks to entice and pamper all your senses!

There will also be a selection of local food, breweries and businesses in the area will be open and live music will fill the air so come ready to have a good time!

Is it handicapped accessible?

Yes! All conference and street fair locations are at street level and easily accessible.

Can I volunteer to help?

We are currently seeking volunteers for the day of the festival, Sat. Sept. 26th. If you are interested, please contact Emma, our volunteer coordinator at ekhutchens@gmail.com or fill out this FORM and we’ll be in touch with the exciting ways you can get involved.

Is there a cost to attend the conference or the street fair?

Early Bird Tickets for Friday’s Conference portion are $60 and available HERE through Sept. 6th. After that the ticket price goes up to $75. Tickets include a light breakfast, locally sourced lunch.

We do not want price to be an issue and we do have a limited number of scholarships available. Please e-mail us if you wish to be considered for a scholarship.

The street fair on Saturday Sept. 26th is FREE, open to the public and family friendly.

Are you looking for sponsors?

Yes! We are seeking sponsorship for both the conference portion and the festival. Without our sponsors, this festival would not be possible.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SPONSORING THIS FESTIVAL

Because of our focus on growing the local economy, we do have criteria for businesses that wish to sponsor. If your business is headquartered in North Carolina and is independently owned and operated with no headquarters outside of the state and not publically traded, or if you have an organization that supports the local movement please contact us at venturelocalfair@gmail.com.

Are you going to have a stage and can musicians and/or entertainers apply?

We are not planning to have a stage this year, however, some of the businesses in the South Slope area will be seeking musicians for this event. If you are a local musician, we suggest you check with them.

We are considering buskers and entertainers. If you wish to participate please email us at venturelocalfair@gmail.com and send us a link to your music and/or website as well as a description of the type of entertainment you would like to provide.


Who can participate?

Makers, artists, crafters, designers, food and service providers and collectors from the WNC region who have an independently owned, local business are encouraged to apply. The Venture Local Fair focuses on unique local handmade items, arts and crafts, found antiques, salvaged and vintage treasures, locally produced food and drink and talented entertainment and services.

For MAKERS: the items represented for sale MUST be handmade or altered by you.

For COLLECTORS: the items you sell must be found objects, vintage and no longer in production.

For FOOD VENDORS: All food must be handmade locally by YOU and your company. For food trucks, we ask that you feature at least 1 dish with main ingredients sourced locally. We also will not allow corporate drinks or soda not made locally to be sold. There will be vendors providing local drinks.

For RETAIL SHOPS: ALL items you sell at this event must be made by LOCAL Artisans from WNC. We suggest you check with the vendors you would like to represent to make sure there is no overlap or redundancy represented at the fair.

PLEASE NOTE: NO contemporary MASS-PRODUCED, IMPORTED GOODS WILL BE ALLOWED.

In order to highlight the local economy, we only accept applications from individuals operating businesses headquartered in the WNC. Included counties are Alexander County, Alleghany County, Ashe County, Avery County, Buncombe County, Burke County, Caldwell County, Catawba County, Cleveland County, Cherokee County, Clay County, Graham County, Haywood County, Henderson County, Jackson County, Macon County, Madison County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Polk County, Rutherford County, Stokes County, Surry County, Swain County, Transylvania County, Watauga County, Wilkes County, Yancey County.

We aim to have a diverse collection of businesses and products represented.

We reserve the right to dismiss any exhibitor if they have misrepresented themselves or their merchandise, or for any reason we deem appropriate.

What does “juried” mean?

In determining which applicants will exhibit at the Venture Local Fair, we rely on the expertise of seasoned artists and those intimate with the local business community to determine which applicants best display our goals of originality, uniqueness, creativity, and quality. The Jury also helps maintain the overall look and feel of the festival, to create a diverse yet complementary blend of vendors.

When is the deadline to apply?

Applications must be received no later than Midnight EST on Friday July 3rd.  Applicants will be notified of acceptance no later than July 8th.

Can I share a booth with another business?

YES. However, all businesses must apply and pay their $10 application fee separately and indicate on their registration form who they intend to share a booth with. The fee for shared booth space is $120. Please note, you risk the chance of one of the applicants not being accepted.

What if something happens and I can’t make it?

If you cancel your booth before August 14th and we are able to secure a replacement from the waiting list, you will be refunded 50% of your booth fee. Cancellations after August 14th, will not receive a refund. No Exceptions.

Do I need to collect Sales Tax?

You are responsible for registering your small business with the IRS and North Carolina State and collecting sales tax (if applicable) for the items you will be selling. When tax time comes around, you will have to remit sales tax on all the items you sold to the state. We recommend that you call the North Carolina Department of Revenue for more info.

What do you mean by “service providers”?

We wish to ensure that attendees will experience the vast array of talent and ingenuity based in the WNC region. Because our region is rich in the arts of healing, cosmetics and performing, we encourage these individuals to apply. We would love to see massage therapists, barbers, pedicurists and yoga teachers and others offering their services beside our artisans and collectors.

How much does it cost to exhibit?

A booth space is 10ft. x 10ft. and is $95 for makers, collectors and service providers, food packaged or not cooked on site $120 for shared booths and $150 for food trucks. You must provide your own tent, weights, tables and chairs. Electricity is not available on site. Food trucks must be able to run off their own power. There is a $10 nonrefundable registration fee for all applicants.

Only outdoor spaces are available. Your booth will be located along Banks, Buxton or Collier in the South Slope of downtown Asheville. We assign the booth space and will notify you of placement the week of the festival.

We accept applications from May 8, 2015 – June 30th, 2015.

What is the money from my vendor fee used for?

Your exhibition fee pays in part for logistics and the location cost including permitting, insurance and security as required by the city as well as signage, barricades and street closure fees. It also helps fund marketing and advertising costs ensuring this event is well attended and a success for all involved.

Will there be electricity provided on site?

No electricity will be available on-site. Food trucks and other vendors must provide their own source of electricity, if needed.

Will there be WiFi and/or an Internet Connection?

While the Venture Local Fair will not be responsible for providing public wifi for this event, cellular towers are accessible in this area. If you plan to use wifi for this event it is the vendor’s responsibility to use a secure private connection to do transactions or business otherwise. We do not condone using nearby businesses open wifi connections without prior consent and encourage those that use the internet for transactions to use a secured private connection.

How can I get my goods in the hands of the people?

We can help, we want your swag!

Once you are accepted as a vendor for the street fair, we will ask you to send swag for the 230 swag bags that we will distribute to attendees of the conference. This is a great way to get your information in the hands of a lot of people! Swag can be anything that promotes your business: stickers, business cards, postcards, fun stuff, etc.

There will also be about 30 special gift bags for our speakers. We would love for them to sample your wares prior to attending the street fair.

This is not mandatory, but strongly encouraged. Swag will be due September 1, and further information will be sent to accepted vendors.

Can galleries, collectives and businesses featuring Local Artisans apply?

If you have a business that features many smaller local business owners who are not considering applying to the event, you are welcome to apply and represent them. We ask that you approach the businesses you represent and ask them if they intend to apply individually before filling out the application. In your application, please provide the names of the local businesses you intend on featuring. Please note that all criteria for our individual vendors must apply to them.

If you have a question about this, please email venturelocalfair@gmail.com.

What is the deal with set-up and tear down?

Due to the limited loading space in the South Slope, we will assign you a specific time slot to unload on the morning of Saturday September 26th, giving you adequate time to set up before the event opens at noon. The event closes at 6 pm the same day and we are asking that everyone be out by 8:30 pm.

You will be able to pull your car up near your booth space to unload and load, if you arrive during your designated time. Cars will not be allowed to remain in the festival area, however, parking will be available within easy walking distance to your booth space.

All street vendors will receive a 10×10 ft. space to set up in. You must provide your own tent, tables, chairs and weights. The streets can get windy and we require each corner of your tent to be weighted down with sufficient weights (1 gallon water jugs are not enough).

Please, do not break down early. You are expected to remain set up until 6 pm. If you break down early we may not be able to accept you for future shows.

What are your food vendor requirements?

We accept a limited amount of food trucks and artisanal food vendors. Food trucks and food vendors must be properly licensed by the city of Asheville and have all required health permits from Buncombe County.

There is no electricity provided on-site. Food trucks must be self-powered, provide their own water and legally dispose of their waste and waste water.

Because of our focus on the local economy, we ask that non-pre-packaged food vendors provide at least one dish with locally sourced ingredients. We suggest you highlight that dish or product prominently at your booth or truck.

Due to permitting restrictions, we are not able to accommodate food vendors who wish to cook under a tent at this time. We will consider incorporating this option next year.

I design my own products, but I don’t make some components. Can I still apply?

The Venture Local Fair’s first priority is to showcase and promote goods made locally in the WNC region. However, we realize that rarely can one complete the creative process start to finish. For example, a designer might hire a company to produce t-shirts, cards, photos, etc.; and certainly almost every artist has to use supplies that he or she did not physically make.

Additionally, some artists may now have businesses that have grown beyond a single person’s capacity to produce everything and must employ help to create finished products. It is not our intention to penalize small business growth. Thus our policy is that the ideas, prototypes, brand direction, etc. of a Venture Local Fair maker vendor must originate with a single artist. This excludes any corporate or box store retailers, and keeps Indie Craft Parade’s vision to promote small, regional businesses.

Please note: any manufacturing not completed by the artist must be done in the United States.

What is your policy for collectors of vintage products? Do I qualify?

The Venture Local Fair’s goal is to showcase regional small businesses. Collectors, antique and vintage lovers who scour the South for pieces of history reflecting our unique culture will be given preference.  Please note, mass produced, contemporary items or those recently manufactured overseas will not be admitted. If you are a collector and wish to vend your items must be authentically of an era that has past.

We also welcome upcycled clothing, furniture or goods that have been creatively repurposed for modern usage.

Do you accept applications for nonprofit funders or business incubators?

The Venture Local Fair has a handful of booths set aside for nonprofits working closely with our business community. We want our small businesses to have access to the resources our community has available and feel it is crucial for your nonprofit to have some representation.

If you have an organization located in North Carolina that you would like represented at either the street fair or the conference please email us: venturelocalfair@gmail.com. We have sponsorship opportunities as well as spaces available for you to highlight your work. Let’s see how we can incorporate you in this event.

Theft and who is responsible?

The Venture Local Fair is not responsible for personal injury or any items damaged or stolen during the duration of the event (including move-in, move-out and the hours of the event). It is the responsibility of each vendor to transport their belongings and to not leave valuables unattended.

While we do our best to ensure a safe and secure environment to sell your wares by hiring security as well as having plenty of volunteers on hand, the VLF is not responsible for your belongings.