Vendor Event Review - Brewgaloo 2024

Brewgaloo is North Carolina's largest craft beer festival which takes place annually in April. This was the two-day event's 13th year consisting of a four-hour Friday Night Block Party followed by the full eight-hour Saturday street festival. Event details from a small business vendor perspective as well as the pros and cons of vending at this event are included in this Brewgaloo review.

Hi! I'm Traci, owner of Chester & Pearl, a cat-themed small business that creates products for cats and cat lovers featuring my cute digital cat art including cat toys, vinyl stickers, and magnets.

My products range in price from $4-$18 so event orders range from a single sticker to a bag full of cat goodies. I write event reviews to help other small business owners decide which events might be a good fit for them.

These are my experiences as a cat-themed product vendor. Businesses offering products in other categories with different price points may not have the same outcomes.

 

Brewgaloo crowds

Brewgaloo 2024 Stats & Summary

📅 Date/time: Friday, April 26 (6-10 PM) - Saturday, April 27, 2024 (12-8 PM)

📍 Location: Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, North Carolina

👋 Expected attendance: 60,000

💵 Booth fee: $250 for 10x10 empty space on street

🧾 Number of orders: 349 (99 Friday, 250 Saturday)

🥇 Top-grossing product: Kicker cat toys

Chester & Pearl tent at Brewgaloo

Brewgaloo Tickets and Attendance

The event was free for the public to attend and tickets were only required for beer purchases.

This was a HUGE event with an advertised expected attendance of over 60,000. Post-event, organizers shared the unofficial news that this year's event was the largest beer festival in the USA. I highly recommend bringing at least one assistant to help at Brewgaloo. I can’t imagine doing an event like this alone!

Brewgaloo Applications and Fees

Applications for Brewgaloo vendors opened in December, 2023 and there was no application fee.

Vendors could apply for one or both days of the event. This year, I was only accepted for Friday night which had a $75 vendor fee and was later pulled up from the waitlist for Saturday as well.

The full vendor fee for both days was $250, which I covered by the end of the busy first hour on Friday night. This fee provided vendors an empty 10x10 space in the street. All equipment including tents, tables, chairs, and lights were the vendor's responsibility.

Event Setup

Brewgaloo small business vendors were scattered throughout the festival footprint on four blocks of Fayetteville Street, Raleigh's historic main street, with over 100 craft brewery tents and 50 food trucks. This year, vendors received their block assignment prior to the event, but were pointed to their specific location upon arrival.

Setup on Friday afternoon was quite leisurely as the street opened five hours before event time. Vendors pulled right up to their spots to unload and then parked in any of the numerous parking garages nearby.

I encountered a stressful situation when I arrived to find that I was being moved to a different block. Organizers initially had trouble finding space for me, but handled it well and I ended up in a great spot. However, the issue added an expected hour to my setup time. I always recommend arriving as early as possible to large events like this because any number of unexpected situations like this can happen. Fortunately, I had that hour to spare so it wasn’t a problem.

Vendors who participated both days closed up their tents to leave overnight on Friday. At the event's end on Saturday, vehicle traffic was allowed back on the street to load up, but I parked in a garage close enough that it was faster and easier to just pull three cart loads directly to my car.

Chester & Pearl cat toys tent at Brewgaloo

Brewgaloo: The Good

A combination of high attendance this year and offering small products with low price points made this a very successful event for my business.

Over the two days, Brewgaloo 2024 became my second-highest grossing event to date and Saturday broke my single-day sales record. However, these sales were over twice last year’s sales when the festival experienced stormy weather for several hours. You never know what factors affect event attendance, but my two experiences with Brewgaloo, while both profitable, saw quite different sales totals.<

Had I only vended on Friday night per my original application acceptance, the event still would have been worth attending for my business. My Friday night sales were well over 10 times the $75 Friday-only vendor fee.

Overall, setup was easy, the event was well-organized, and I found the fees to be a great value for my sales totals.

Brewgaloo: The Bad

Between food truck generators, music, and crowd noise, this festival was LOUD. It was rather overwhelming and far out of my comfort zone for an introvert such as myself. I managed by being one of very few vendors to keep my tent walls up on three sides for the duration of the event to create a cozy cocoon amongst the chaos and cut down on the overstimulation. I made sure I have plenty of exterior signage since attendees couldn't see inside my tent until they were right in front of it.

This might not be the best event for vendors offering products at higher price points. Many attendees arriving early didn't want to carry a shopping bag for the rest of the day and I'm not certain how many who said they'd return later to buy actually did.

Small products are ideal for an event like Brewgaloo. Many people bought just magnets or stickers that they could slip into their bags or wallets without carrying around a shopping bag while they enjoy all the beer.

Remember that first and foremost, attendees are coming to Brewgaloo to drink beer! This isn't a shopping-priority event for the majority of attendees.

The restroom situation also wasn't ideal. There were port-a-potties with handwashing stations that water ran out very early on Saturday and I heard of potties practically overflowing.

Brewgaloo crowds in Raleigh 2024

Final Impressions

Brewgaloo is a fantastic, high-attendance event that is organized incredibly well. I strongly urge anyone to step out of their comfort zones to try large events like this if the audience is the right match. You’ll be surprised by what you can handle and they can be incredibly beneficial for your business!

Interested in more event reviews? Read all of our Vendor Event Reviews to help you decide which events might be ideal for your business. Browse our cat-favorite catnip Kicker cat toys and our entire collection of vinyl cat stickers and cat magnets that look like your cat!