The Board Chronicles: Oceanside Harbor Days 2016   1 comment

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

Oceanside Harbor DaysThe Oceanside Chamber of Commerce has been hosting Harbor Days for a long time. They don’t tell you how long … but it’s a long time.

They outsource the event management to a locally based producer, Kennedy & Associates. They do about 9 community events in the San Diego area throughout the year. This is one of the rare 2-day events. It’s got fire trucks, navy demonstrations & contests.

And it takes place by Oceanside’s South Harbor. On. The. Beach.

We’re in.

New Ideas

  • We have banners! Both Mrs M & Mr M now have banners on the front of their shade structures. We are such professionals these days. See the pictures of our new-look booth, at the bottom of this post.
  • The folding chairs are gone, and we now have tall directors chairs so we are eye level with our patrons even before we are standing. We are such professionals these days.
  • This is our first event in San Diego County. We haven’t gone very far south previous to this; we skipped Orange County entirely.


  • This is the first of 10 big events leading up to the holiday break. Those 10 events will see us go far and wide:
    • Oceanside
    • Manhattan Beach
    • Carpenteria (2x)
    • Claremont
    • Westlake Village
    • Santa Clarita (3x)
    • Ridgecrest
  • Our booth backed up to the beach: we were 8′ from the sand. We listened to the surf all weekend. I so wanted to love this event and own this space every year.
  • As we do these days, we bought a double booth on a corner, 10×20. Unfortunately, our neighbor moved their display racks holding their most popular merchandise into the open space that formed the corner we shared. They effectively took over the open space to display their merchandise, and then added a 6′ table on the sidewalk behind. Management’s reaction? Let me work it out with the other vendor … apparently, they thought it was my job to enforce their rule. Or not.
  • Why did I buy a corner space for their merchandise display, again?
  • Very eclectic crowd. We saw a costumed donkey, a mermaid being pulled around in a wagon, and countless numbers of people walking by the booth barefoot. On the asphalt. Many out-of-towners showed up. Lots of beach bombers. Lots of dog walkers.
  • We had read the event attracts 40,000, which is why we opted for this event over others. Our mistake. Attendance was perhaps 12,000, in my estimation, and I believe I’m being kind. Parking is just about impossible … you have to park a couple of miles away in downtown Oceanside, and take the shuttle. If you do drive to the event and park in the closest lot … you still walk about a mile to get to the event.
  • Even though the producer asked for a list of everything you would be selling … they didn’t really care, come to find out, and accepted all applicants. The result of that was that there were 8 vendors at this event selling handmade soap. Or, perhaps I should say, 8 vendors were displaying handmade soap. Velda sold a total of 4 bars this weekend, which is just horrendous. One vendor left after Saturday with sales below $50 for the day. Horrible lack of event management.
  • Only event I’ve ever seen with more soapers than jewelry makers. Unbelievable.
  • Oh. So. Slow. On Saturday, this event started slow, and then got worse. Our Saturday sales were less than our booth fee … for one booth.
  • Sunday sales were better in the morning, giving us hope that was then dashed in the afternoon. In the end, we did cover our booth fee and cost of goods sold … but little else.
  • Requests were for a serving tray, a counter, cribbage boards (sigh), backgammon boards (sigh) and pens.
  • Not to racially profile, but I got 3 requests from Asian Americans … or Asian Asians … for very large Lazy Susans (which they didn’t call Lazy Susans).
  • As the event wound down on Sunday, a young couple came by. The guy was a woodworker who had just found some urban wood … the city had cut down a mature camphor tree, and he managed to get the log and large branches from the city before they hit the chipper. He shared 4x 8″ branches with me – he even brought them to us as we were loading the trailer. I get some wood, he gets a cutting board … and I got to meet a nice young couple that are trading me wood for finished pieces. And this was about the only nice thing that happened to us in Oceanside … other than the sunset on the beach.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Free hotel food @ the Best Western Plus. Did I mention it was free?

Saturday Lunch: A tri-tip sandwich. Fair food, in every possible meaning of the words.

Saturday Snack: Cookies from a nice vendor, and salted nuts from another nice vendor.

Saturday Dinner: Ty’s Burgers, or something like that. Passable, with nice ambiance. And it was easy.

Sunday Breakfast: Did I mention it was free? Well, “free.”

Sunday Lunch: Chinese fair food. Better, but dry, unfortunately.

Sunday Snack: Leftovers.

Sunday Dinner: McDonald’s # 1. It was the first place we saw close to the freeway. And we still didn’t get home until 10:30p.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 266
  • Booth cost: $650
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 4
  • Total sales: $935
  • # containers of product taken: all of them
  • # boards available: all of them
  • Saturday alarm: 5:30a
  • Sunday alarm: Nope.
  • # transactions: 39
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There were 8 (EIGHT) soap & lotion vendors, plus an essential oil vendor. I have never seen so many soapers with so few sales at an event EVER.
  • # woodworking vendors: Just me
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 9:1
  • Returning next year? Absolutely not.

Boards sold: 10

Cutting Boards: 2

Magic Bottle Openers: 2

Cheese Boards: 2

Lazy Susan: 1

Bread Saw: 1

Large Sous Chef: 1

Letter-size Clipboard: 1


One response to “The Board Chronicles: Oceanside Harbor Days 2016

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  1. Your booth looks incredible! Too bad the event didn’t work out for the two of you. Best wishes for your next adventure!

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