I recently relocated to SF bay area (Peninsula), and need the great COTH opinion on the horse show scene up here.
I have a small horse related business (a service more so than a product) and would like to set up as a vendor at some of the bigger shows this year.
So far I've been to Woodside (as a spectator) and wasn't really thrilled with the location/foot traffic of the vendor area.
What shows are you more likely to visit the vendors? What shows do you find well attended? Fun? Good food/cheaper lodging? I'm in easy driving of Woodside, but would need to do a hotel for Sac area or further south (Santa Cruz).
Sonoma Horse Park does not allow vendor pop up tents, which my set up is, so that is out of the question.
I'm open to other disciplines as well, and am considering Reining by the Bay and some of the Woodside events. My experience is H/J so that is my main focus since I know that world and how the shows run.
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It partially depends on what you're selling and who your target customer is. Do you want the AA show crowd, or would you do better with the folks who maybe do a rated show or 2 per year so going is a really big deal, or perhaps the schooling show crowd? The Beach Party show (early June) and the Let's Show Halloween show both in the Sacramento area are usually quite well attended. Sac international (both weeks) is also well attended, but it's a different crowd.
I'm thinking that going inland is going to be your best bet. Some of the shows at Brookside, Murrieta, and Leone's are easier for vendors. (Also, last time I was at Sonoma, they had vendors with pop-ups, not all of them had trucks, so I'm confused by this) I'd also check out the shows at Watsonville, they'd be a bit of a hike but could be promising, especially since they're supposed to be improved since Pebble Beach Equestrian Center closed.
Now, I don't know what service you provide, but this is going to have an impact on where you will be successful. There are several embroidery businesses in the Sacramento area, so that might be tough. Photographers, though, are fewer in number, but one certain photographer seems to have a monopoly, but as of last season is doing less... Anyway. Enough gossip.
I would attend more shows this season (the season is heating up so you should get a good idea of what to expect) to find out which ones would be worth pursuing.
Horsey Vendor you have a pm. I am the vendor coordinator at Sonoma Horse Park. Please call me (number in pm) and we can discuss our rules and your needs as a vendor. We have a great group of vendors at the horse park and if you have something nice to add to our show we would be willing to work with you!