Winneconne Library Craft Faire & Fox Valley Vintage Fest 5

Hello again, readers of Bleak Blog!

We here at Bleak Boutique didn't stray far for this weekend's markets, sticking to Winneconne for a Friends of the Library Holiday Craft Faire on Saturday and then bouncing over to Oshkosh for Fox Valley Vintage Fest 5 at the Oshkosh Convention Center on Sunday.

Starting with Winneconne: we woke up bright and early Saturday morning to head over to Woodeye's Bar and Grill to start setting up for the Holiday Craft Faire. Having never been there before, we had no idea what to expect! What we discovered was a place that only exist in Wisconsin. Picture a massive, warehouse-sized space that is half sporting goods shop and half 3D archery range with a space in the middle for your classic Wisconsin bar and grill. Taxidermy galore, amazing food, and the friendliest waitstaff you've ever met. (We're a bit partial, as they wound up becoming Bleak Boutique customers during the Faire!)

The 3D archery range was cleared out and converted into a general use event space for Saturday, but evidence to the true purpose was abound; several stray arrows were still lodged in the PA system and at several points along the rafters, but that's unavoidable in a place like this. The vibe was great, with us seeing many familiar faces from our local markets, and we made a point of taking time to break away during the hustle and bustle to chow down on the amazing pub food. If you're ever in small town Central Wisconsin and want some grub and also to get fitted for a bow at the same time, Woodeye's is a unique experience that can't be beat!

After that market concluded and we loaded out, we zoomed over to Oshkosh for early load-in at the Oshkosh Convention Center for the much-awaited Fox Valley Vintage Fest 5. FVVF is one of our all-time favorite markets, as the level of care put into every detail just shows how much the event organizer invests into this event. From having a curated playlist of deep cuts from the 90s and 00s to get your head bobbing, to constructing photo op booths along every corner staged to resemble the bedrooms of decades past, and even having Vintage Vault Arcade truck up a selection of retro arcade games set up to free play to while away the day, there's just so much here to catch the eye. 

We've vended every FVVF so far, so we knew what to expect, and opted to set up the night before the event. It saves so much hassle -- I wish every larger market allowed for early load-in like this, especially since we have so much that goes into our market booth. It's a lifesaver!

As for the event itself, we'd like to think we are getting better at vending busier markets all the time. We had our booth divided up into two sides, so Jen could operate independently on one side, and I could aid with soap selections and checkout on the other. (I think of myself as a chatty soap sommelier, so this is playing to my strengths.) We saw a lot of familiar faces (I'm terrible with names, but some of you have been with us since the first FVVF, and we appreciate you so much!), and met a lot of fantastic new folks. Our newly launched holiday soaps sold phenomenally, as did our other new items. We're never sure how our new varieties are going to go over with the public, and it does a lot to put our minds at ease when we have such as tremendous response! People seemed to especially like our display for our Krampus Tealight Terrors, and considering we were up late during the week both packaging those and wrapping our new soaps, it meant the world. We were feeling the love in Oshkosh. I know I've said this before, but we could never do this without you all, and we wrapped up Sunday feeling like our tiny little Grinch hearts grew a half-size.

(Or maybe it was all the fried food from Saturday.)

Until next time!

- Sean