Always interested to have your preconceptions challenged. I went to a local festival today to promote the tea festival. It was a urban community type of festival, in what is generally regarded as a pretty bad part of town. Most of the “vendors” there were social service and social justice type of things. Across the street from me was a #Ferguson booth, f’r example. Down the street was a guy lecturing (and doing it pretty poorly though with conviction) about Warden Tate and all the evils of The Man. I chatted quite a bit with a social worker who works with housing projects. Nice enough lady and she let me scooch in with her during some brief rain showers since I didn’t have a tent.
I was going to cancel on going and write off the voluntary booth fee as a donation to charity. I signed up without really being able to find any good info about the festival, who the attending demographic was, etc. The night I was going to email my regrets to the organizers, I took one more look at their website and they finally had a list of vendors up and the tea fest was on it. So… kind of had to go since we were on their flyers and advertising as going to be there.
Figured I’d sit there most of the day without much traffic and then go home. Well, I was wrong. I had a pretty steady stream of folks come by the table and actually stop to ask what the fest was about and pick up a flyer. Now, admittedly, those folks who picked up flyers may have just been doing the standard festival thing – pick up something at every booth, go home with a bunch of paper and pitch it all in the next couple of days. But I had 2 ladies who were really excited and even asked for more flyers so they could share with their coworkers and someone else who offered to take a flyer to put up where she worked. Several people were enthusiastic about the festival and more so about volunteering to help and get in free and since we really need volunteers at this point, if any of them follow through it will be worth the day spent. And I met one of the other vendors who told me about some Taiwanese black tea a relative brought him back from Taiwan. He doesn’t want to open it because it’s such a large bag and he doesn’t think he can drink it all in optimal time for flavor so he’s been trying to find other people to share it with him when he opens it. He took my email address, said he’d be at the festival and though he wasn’t sure when he would open his tea, he’d contact me and I could get some from him.
So, I found tea lovers in unexpected places, and not just bagged tea, either. Got flyers going to places I wouldn’t otherwise have access and met someone who wants to share tea. I got out of my comfort zone and survived. I still don’t agree with most of the grievances that were being aired but I respect their right to peacefully express them. And I got a brick of curly fries with enough seasoned salt to choke a horse. All in all, that’s a pretty good day. :)