Hoppy Holidays Menu 2012

Guests enjoyed a very tasty and fulfilling, nutritious and delicious menu of beer and food last Friday at our annual Hoppy Holidays event. A birthday – or should we say ‘beerthday’ – party of 9 also joined us. What an honor to do a double celebration: personal holiday for her and 8 friends as well as celebrating beer and food as we know it right now.

Jicama salad..almost ready!

Here’s the menu we savored:

  • Burnside Brewing Sweet Heat paired with Jerk Pickled Green Beans with Apricot glaze
  • 21st Amendment Fireside Chat paired with Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup with Tarragon
  • Lindeman’s Cassis Lambic paired with Fennel and Jicama Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Slices Almonds, and Balsamic Reduction made with the Cassis
  • Alameda Papa Noel Olde Ale paired with Molinari Salami, Fennel Salami, 4-year Gouda, Glazed Roasted Figs, and Marcona Almonds
  • Bonus Beer: Standing Stone 2012 Barleywine
  • Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout paired with Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Tart with Ancho Chili

Sound good?

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Swig & Stitch December 2012

There’s no doubt: Beer is a social component of life. It brings people together, everyone has an opinion about it, and it gets people talking. Positive change happens in the form of education.

gorgeous tulle under a holiday tree from Fabric of Vision

Swig & Stitch, the ongoing series WEB does with the brilliant Sandi of Fabric of Vision, happened again Tuesday night. Here’s the tasting & pairing menu we enjoyed:

  1. Two Towns Bad Apple Semi Dry hard Cider with housemade Clam Chowder
  2. Guinness classic Dry Irish Stout with Black Angus meatloaf and gravy
  3. Sierra Nevada Celebration with grilled tomato and cheese sandwich triangle
  4. Lindeman’s Framboise with 3 layer chocolate fudge cake

Suffice it to say tummies and taste buds were happily sated, minds opened, and conversation generated.

We had a bonus too: Pete of Pete’s Gourmet gave us samples of his Stout Beer Bite Candy to try. Listening to the crinkly wrappers being undone was a fun sound, followed by “mmmmmm”.

Care to join us or hire us to bring Swig & Stitch to you? Contact Ginger to discuss.

 

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November Swig & Stitch Menu

Swig & Stitch is the brilliant brainchild of Sandi Globus, owner of the superbly wonderful store Fabric of Vision. And vision she has.

Sandi started Swig & Stitch a few years back to bring the idea of socializing while learning about sewing techniques. It’s not quilting – she conducts useful and transferable sewing techniques with projects that feature the said techniques.

Swig & Stitch pairs Beer with Sewing Technique Demos

I have the distinct honor and pleasure of working with Sandi in a beer centric S&S. She’s done a wine focused event for 4 years – last year we joined forces and now offer a second monthly event with beer. YUM!

She leads with the instruction, I intersperse beer and food tastings, and a great edutaining time is had by all. The guests are plugged in members of the greater community, with all sorts of backgrounds, Some like to sew, some don’t, some like beer, and some are discovering that they do!

It’s all about creating a ripe learning environment, front loaded with the right structure and benefits so everyone walks away happy. None of it is difficult if you’re thinking ahead, paying attention, and taking care of your guests.

Here’s the menu we chose this week, working with our fine host 4 Daughters Irish Pub. Thanks to Brandy, Abigail, Tim & Crew!

Try this at home.

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Beer and Glassware at the Iowa Expo

Beer and glassware. They’re so important together and so intrinsically entwined.

Which is exactly why I choose the topic at the HyVee sponsored Expo last weekend in Des Moines Iowa. The fine folks at Doll Distributing brought me in to help edutain the crowd – and a great audience it was!

Fun audiences at the HyVee Beer, Wine & Food Expo last week

They were attentive, fun, caught on quick to making ‘crowd sounds’ and even added their own enthusiastic and totally appropriate hand gestures.

I walked them through different kinds and styles of glassware, how they differ in the delivery of aroma and flavors, and why it’s fun to experiment. The volunteers in the audience who helped me by responding to questions went home with a fun WEB logos glass as well. We love giving away goodies!

A special thanks as well to the Tom Korder of Goose Island who was sitting in on the session for his help in demonstrating a hop rub.  Tom and his colleagues were great sports and it’s always fun to employ the talents of other ‘beer people.’

Herein lies the lesson today:

  1. Glassware is important to the sensory experience of your beer.
  2. Experiment often in creative ways – beer styles, glass styles, temperatures, and so on.
  3. Throw a beer & glassware potluck, invite friends to try different beers in different glasses and compare notes.
  4. Be a geek, never a snob.

Beer’s fun and meant to be that way and enjoyed in moderation. Please take these marching orders and go at it.

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Cooking With Beer And Iowa Girl Eats

It was a distinct pleasure to take the stage last week in Des Moines Iowa for the Iowa’s Premier Beer, Wine & Food Expo presented by HyVee. Having lived in central Iowa for a while, it was also great fun to ‘be back’ and reconnect in person with friends and colleagues.

Kristin & Ginger at the Beer Expo - Cheers!

One of the highlights was to take the Royal Flooring Stage with Kristin Porter, Iowa Girl Eats. Kristin is a delight to collaborate with and super easy to work with, good sense of humor and very knowledgeable on food preparation. Her tag line says a mouthful: “Eat well. Run often. Travel Far.”

We co-presented on cooking with beer, Kristin leading the recipe charge and cooking, me emceeing and keeping the guests with mouths watering entertained between the techniques and food creation. I happily featured delicious and diverse beers from the Doll portfolio with tasty success.

Cooking with beer with Kristin, IGE

Beer is an excellent cooking ingredient and if you’ve yet to use it as such, DO SO! It’s flexible, full of flavors and easy to manipulate. Plus you can use flat beer that you simply won’t drink or is left over from time to time. freezing beer in ice cube trays is an easy and simply way to ‘store’ it until you want it.

Results? Mouth watering guests who did indeed get to taste (some came back for seconds!) Kristin’s flavorful recipes – of course made with beer. I choose Summit’s Winter Ale for the beer that cooked with Kale, bacon and browned butter. Seriously delicious.

Hope to work with Kristin again – with a name like that, it’s a good sign for beer!

Tomorrow: Review of the Beer & Glassware session I gave at the Expo

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Are You An Open or Closed Minded Beer Taster?

Are you an open-minded beer thinker? Do you truly not adopt the snob stance and embrace equanimity and diplomacy?

Ginger & Kelle of Doll Distributing at the Show

I’ve found that while many people truly think and extol that they are indeed open-minded yet they are beer racists or snobs or simply closed-minded to trying beers they’ve not sampled before.

Beer should be an easy sell. It’s chock full of flavor and many people like to try new flavors. If you talk about beer as a flavorful experience you can get farther.

So what do you do with those who say “I’m not really a beer drinker” or “I don’t like dark/light/whatever beers”?

Having just been at the Iowa’s Premier Beer, Wine & Food show in Des Moines Iowa I was reminded of how important it is to be diplomatic and offer a new perspective to those reticent on what beer can give them. Here are a few tips:

1. Ask people what kinds of overall flavors they like – ask about flavors such as coffee, chocolate, banana, grapefruit, bread. Commonly identifiable ideas will help open the mind.

2. Remind them that “dark” and “light” aren’t flavors – they’re colors. And colors can tell you some things about your beer yet there is no universal anything for what a beer will really taste like until you give it to your taste buds.

3. If they say they’re a wine drinker – great! Ask what kind of wine – if they like deep robust reds, suggest a porter or other similar beer that can have cross flavors and characteristics. If they say white wine, find out what they like in white wine and see what you can do to match a similar flavor profile of a beer.

4. I ask a lot of people to humor me and let me pour them one finger’s worth of beer. If they don’t like it I’ll pour it out, rinse their glass and give them something else.  A small amount of “don’t be a snob” pressure when done right can be very effective for all concerned.

Help communicate that beer tasting is low commitment, high reward

It’s a tasting, for goodness sake. Big deal. If they don’t like it keep helping them discover and sample other beers. If they shut you off, then let them go. If people want to selectively miss out on the wonderful world of beer, it’s ultimately their choice.

You simply have to be sure that you truly tried to engage them. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve convinced to simply try it with the above suggestions and tips (plus lots more in my arsenal).

Don’t take no for the first 3 answers. People are only open-minded if they are willing to listen and try.

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Beer Workshops Enhance Culinary Festivals

What a flavorful time! Last weekend we conducted workshops focused on beer at a local culinary festival. It’s a terrific opportunity to bring beer to life and we poured it on.

What makes workshops a success?

1. Guests. When sign up is optional and you have to pay for it, buy in is more proactive. We had the pleasure of having some repeat guests Sunday that has also attended the workshop Saturday. All the guests, one time or repeat, were engaged, curious and fun loving.

2. Host. The host and sponsor, Standing Stone Brewing Company, was gracious and accommodating. Rachel, Events Coordinator, is always a pleasure to work with and the side room where we had the events is cozy and bright.

3. Menu. Beer on Saturday, Beer and Food on Sunday. The brewer at SSBC is highly focused on cleanliness and sanitation, leading to delicious quality beer. The paired foods matched nicely from the brewpub kitchen and we’re nicely presented.

The local Chamber is the organizing body and they did a thorough job of taking care of reservations, fees, advertising, marketing and the actual Festival location and logistics. Kelsey, our primary contact, was on top of details, checked in a few times during the fest, followed up on the workshops and was easily available from the beginning conversation to the end of the event. This is key: have someone who has experience do the organizing.

Here are the menus we enjoyed:

  •     Mmmmm! Ahhhhh! Learning to Smell & Taste Your Beer Saturday 11/3/12: Wildcraft (special batch), Galaxy (seasonal), Double India Pale Ale/IPA (house), and Stout (house)
  •     What A Pair! Learning to Pair Beer & Food Together Sunday 11/4/12:
  •     Double IPA with Crater Lake Blue Cheese, fresh red pears, and light vinegar base purple coleslaw
  •     Oktoberfest (seasonal) and Amber (house) with Bratwurst and braised vegetables
  •     I Love Oregon (house) with New England Clam Chowder
  •     Wildcraft Ale with Stir Crazy chocolate cake, whipped cream and drizzle

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Feeling Poetic About Beer?

In the spirit of the impending holiday season, WEB announces a Beer Poetry All-Call. Here’s the scoop:

1. It’s easy for us all to wax rhapsodic about beer, in a few words, or in a jumble driven by enthusiasm and passion. It’s time to harness that output!

2. Submit your poetic beer focused piece/s to Ginger by 11.15.12. Reasonable length is up to you, keep it clean, simple, creative, thoughtful, funny, positive, appropriate. Any disparagement, sexuality, -isms, or other poorly chosen words/passages/references will be filed accordingly (read: dismissed).

3. Be precise or ramble about the virtues you find in and about beer. It’s open to all folks, 21 years of age+, all genders, all over the globe.

Beer Poetry All-Call

4. We’ll compile, read, enjoy and review. Those that fit these loose guidelines and are true examples of beer diplomacy will be awarded goodies. We’ve got a small arsenal of stuffs to choose from and give away.

5. All those chosen will be published here somewhere around 11/23…and we may end up creating categories, depending on the submissions.

I’ve been thinking about this idea for some time and today’s the day to get it moving. Here’s a great example to get you in the mood, thanks to Julia Herz of the Brewers Association.

So have at it – think it up, write it down, have fun with it, and send it to me. Thanks to all submissions in advance.

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Swig & Stitch Season Opener 2012

Last night we had a record number of guests at Swig & Stitch. 27 fine folks decided they wanted to enjoy sewing technique demos paired with beer & food tastings at our gracious host location, 4 Daughters Irish Pub.

We set up shop in one of the ‘rooms’ which has a pool table (great staging and work platform), plenty of seating (chairs & tables, couches & cushy seats), and dedicated service staff to take good care of everyone.

Season 2 of Beer focused Swig & Stitch has begun!

Our host understands than when you bring people together over beer, there are several benefits. Short list:

  1. The guests have a special place to congregate comfortably and regularly, exposing many to a ‘new’ local business.
  2. The host realizes guests will come early to enjoy beverage and food, which is traffic and revenue on top of our agreement.
  3. We rest assured the host is happy, the guests are happy, and we get to call a partner establishment ‘home’ for the season (October through May) – which makes us happy.

Here’s the menu we enjoyed last night:

Cheers to another edutaining season of pairing beer with other everyday activities that bring beer to life.

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Saturday Support

It’s Saturday. What are you planning to do?

One great thing to do for yourself and the greater community at large is to get some friends together and get to a local brew fest.

Get your beer fest on!

We’ll be at the 3rd annual Umpqua Brew Fest today doing our part.

Here are a few sites to help you find one in your area.

Remember!!! Homebrewers love to throw a party too – be sure to check the American Homebrewers Association calendar here too.

There are myriad resources – so search the net, the newspaper, your beer magazines, the app of choice and get your beer on ~

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GABF 2012…On Your Mark, Get Ready…GO!

Denver’s a great place to visit and I love being in Colorado for the Great American Beer Festival. It’s an extraordinary one for many reasons.

  1. It’s where you get to see many of beer friends, enthusiasts and colleagues
  2. The sheer numbers of beers you can try on the festival floor is mind boggling…more on numbers after the incredelicious Media Luncheon tomorrow.
  3. The hospitality of the City of Denver is open armed and exuberant
  4. The geography is gorgeous

Dona, Ginger & Tina at The Cheeky Monk for "Thank The Saints!" event 10/9

That’s the short list. And since WEB is moving into our Industry Sponsor space today, with the first session starting tonight, we’re ready to have the gates open and the people coming in!

We’ve already had a successful women and beer event at The Cheeky Monk – more great people passionate about beer, community and making their dreams come alive. Much to the delight of taste buds everywhere.

Thanks to the Brewers Association for making it easy to be part of the fest. A big THANKS to my crew this year too – Emily, Diane, & Sarah.

Here we go – see you soon!

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Descending on Denver

Are you also either in Denver or Descending on Denver, Colorado USA this week? There’s much ado about beer happening in that mile high city this week.

If you see the WEB van on the road, honk & wave!

We’re happily busy with all kinds of things – check out our schedule surrounding the Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

Highlights will include:

  • Thank the Saints! 10/9, 7 – 9 pm, The Cheeky Monk, Colfax Location, Denver CO. Premier Women’s Only event. Call them for tickets.
  • GABF – we’re booth 135, here’s our line up. Come see us! We’ve got a full line up of goods & goodies to treat yourself too (they make splendid gifts too)
  • Twisted Tastes event, 10/13, 930 – 11 am, Twisted Pine Brewery, Boulder, CO. Delicious event open to all (over 21). Call them for tickets.

We’ve got gobs of great industry & media things on the agenda too, thanks to various hosts including the Brewers Association, Visit Denver and other beerific folks.

See you soon at Booth 135 and all the others!

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Feeling Cheeky? Thanks The Saints!

Do you enjoy flavorful beers – I mean reeeeaaaaaaly chock full of changing flavors as they roll into your mouth, across your lips, onto your tongue, around your mouth, and then finally down your throat?

Then you MUST join us Tuesday 10/9 at The Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe for our event ‘Thank The Saints!’ It’s the delicious kick off event for GABF week at The Cheeky Monk and we’re stoked to be there to help edutain guests and enjoy a number of very delicious Belgian Beers.

As a style, Belgians are a go-to for me. My introduction to Belgian beers happened in Montana at the Harvest Moon Brewing in Belt, outside of Great Falls. They make a “Beltian White” which was perfect after a day of skiing at the local hill, Showdown, with friends.

The funny thing is that when I started learning about beers a few years later, I thought the style was ‘Beltian’, not ‘Belgian’. The only joke was the clever name and I was educated shortly thereafter by a friend in the brewing business.

I like them because they are incredibly flexible with pairing with foods, they are ever changing, and the layers of flavors are second to none.

Call to register today – as this event will surely sell out soon! See you then, there ~

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Twisted Tastes With Beer & Food

Of the many flavorful going-ons during next 2 weeks, the Great American Beer Festival, Denver Beer Fest, and Women Enjoying Beer all have much afoot.

One we’re highlighting today is Twisted Tastes – WEB is partnering with Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder Colorado to temp, enlighten, and teach about beer and food together.

Twisted Pine Brewery

Celine Cooper, Twisted Pine’s Events Coordinator, tells us this:

“Here at Twisted Pine we seek to drive innovation and experimentation in our brewing process while taking care of our community and environment. We deliver a refined, unpasteurized product to our friends and neighbors while serving our community and utilizing ethical business practices. After all, brewing isn’t rocket science- its something far more important.”

Cheers to that I say! This event is open to flavor loving women and men. Get your tickets here – now’s a good time since it’s sure to sell out.

BONUS: We’ll be drawing 2 names of paid registrants (for the 10/13 event) next Monday to win General Admission GABF Tickets!! If you’re after great flavor, register by 10/7 to join us for the Twisted Tastes AND be in the running for tickets (2 sets of 2 will be given away by WEB). Winners will be notified by phone 10/8 and must confirm within 24 hours or the tickets will be given away to someone else.

I’m especially looking forward to the course that features Billy’s Chilies (thanks to Justin for the heads up on this beer).

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Water The Focus at 2012 Umpqua Brew Fest

Actually, it’s the whole reason for the fest to begin with. To recognize and raise awareness, conservation and responsibility around water. I think it’s a perfect fit since beer is 95% + water in its make up.

We’re very glad to be part of this festival again this year, which happens Saturday October 20th. Save the date and plan to be in lovely Roseburg, Oregon for the festival that day. Come join us at the stage for Beer EduTainment as well at 3:15 in the Brew Shed.

I invite you check out their site for good reading, helpful if not disturbing information about water in the world, and get full fest details.

Suffice it to say today that if you enjoy beer, we must all be aware and take action to conserve water. Here are a few things I do each day to consider doing yourself, all for the Planet:

1. Capture all liquids you’re not using in the kitchen – pasta waters, any water used to steam or boil food, and rinse waters (put a bucket or pan underneath to catch it). Use this wonderful nutritionally enhanced ‘water’ to feed and hydrate plants of all sorts; compost it if nothing else. For flavored water i.e. veggies, it’s terrific soup starter and stock to use in cooking.

2. If it takes more than 5 seconds to get hot water for your shower, bath and sinks, capture that with a simple pitcher or bucket. We do this since it takes about a minute to get hot water for the shower. It’s incredible and a good lesson haw much water we thoughtlessly send down the drain while “waiting” for what we want. Be conservative, not wasteful. Use this water to flush toilets, hydrate gardens and water plants.

3. Turn off and remove irrigation and switch to rain capturement. It’s easy to start, economical and it’s better than not doing anything. Place simple handled buckets at the end of downspouts, redirect downspouts to collect rain in barrels, and make sure you only have native plants that can handle low moisture environments.

4. Reduce first. Think before you turn on the ‘drink’. Intelligent reduction coupled with thoughtful use and reuse is the key here.

Cheers to clean water – may we help improve the planet instead of drinking it dry.

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Geography Lessons At Beer Festivals

One thing that stands out to us when we attend beer oriented festivals is the geographic range of where people come from to get to the fest.

Amy from HopUnion

At last weeks Hop & Brew School in Yakima WA, hosted by HopUnion, and at the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, Mt. Angel OR, I was again reminded of how beer brings people together. Consumers, professionals, multi generationals, people who don’t even consume beer. Beer is truly universal – or at least global. And the enthusiasts in the community are willing to and do travel distances to get to a fest.

  • Is it only the beer? (of course not – for most)
  • Do some simply want to fun social component? (yes!)
  • Do some want to learn more about beer by tasting or attending educational sessions? (yes)
  • Are some brought along to safely direct others home? (wisely, yes)

There are lots of reasons for enjoying beer and lots of ways to do it too. Enjoying can mean tasting, drinking, and savoring. Enjoying also means that being around the said beverage is entertaining and a pleasant activity, consumption or no. As a researcher, I know it to be a multi faceted and defined word in this context.

Meeting intelligent, fun-loving people from all over the work is a huge benefit of the work we do. I’ve always believed there are good people everywhere. Festivals simply confirm this belief and we’re all better for it.

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Being a Diplomat Beats Being a Snob Everyday

“No yellow beer.”

“Tell them to carry beer with flavor.”

These are two comments we received at the recent Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. It was by far one of the best organized festivals we’ve had the pleasure of participating in.

Organization notwithstanding, it’s a shame that there’s so much beer racism and snobbery in our country. Here we are, at a multi generational, multi century event and people are being prejudice. Not a good example nor something to be proud of. Some may say “it’s people being people.” To that I say BALONEY!!!

Mt. Angel, OR, Oktoberfest 2012

The only way we all make progress is to be diplomatic and open-minded. We’re not talking about what you choose to believe based on intelligent thinking and personal preferences. That’s up to you AFTER you’ve enjoyed trying different beers with an open mind. And you should still be diplomatic about some things, like opinions on beer. Chances are good lots of people have contributed to the work that’s now in the glass. Do you want someone commenting negatively on the work you do?

We’re talking about being open-minded, open to suggestion, and not being prejudice of what someone chooses to serve or drink. It’s all beer to start with. And if you can’t be open to what others may like and want to drink, shame on you.

To me being part of the greater beer community is being part of a bigger think. It’s talking, laughing, trying, discussing, and furthering the intelligence of the entire society, not denigrating or tearing something down because you simply don’t want to drink it. And no, calling yourself a ‘snob’ shouldn’t be a badge of pride; it should be a scarlet letter. Who wants to hang with a snob?! Not I….

Next time you either think it or hear yourself says something like the above, rethink it first. Liking what you like is part of what makes beer so engaging: it’s all different, there’s a beer for everybody, and if we all sip together no matter what’s in our glass, we all come out ahead.

Cheers to Beer Diplomacy, not Snobbery.

p.s. The German’s and their ‘yellow’ beer should be lauded for high quality, not pulled down for color. Who the hell cares what color it is….color is not a flavor.

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The “You Should…” Festival Syndrome

Have you ever approached someone, started in conversation with them, and then said “You should…” (fill in the blank)? Well if you have, please refrain from doing so in the future.

Be a gracious and kind guest

If you have ever run your own business you’ll realize there’s a much better way to offer suggestions. Someone you don’t know telling you “You Should” feels very arrogant, even if well intended. Business owners have five zillion irons in the fire, even companies with staff and employees.

Try these instead:Have you ever thought about…” or “What do you think of this idea…”

These are way less finger wagging and feel less intrusive. Again, even if well intended, they feel slightly affronting and ignorant (you’re not the business owner, even if you have insight to share). If you offer it in a friendly and suggestive way ideas will be much better received, conversation will be much more productive and enjoyable for everyone.

Ask questions by all means, make gentle and appropriate suggestions, and think about things before they come out of your mouth. It’s truly remarkable what some people feel compelled to ‘tell’ people on the working side of a booth. A lot of it is appalling, and a lot of it is fine. Err on the fine side.

Also – never insult a brand that has just served you. Know the difference between preference and quality – these two things are worlds apart. Diplomacy goes a loooong ways.

Keep in mind too: if the booth worker is someone with the company they have most likely had a long busy enormous energy output day (if not multiple days per some fests and events) and be mindful they’ve most likely heard about everything. Be kind. Be gracious. Be supportive. They’re compelled to be polite to you and they’re working to make a living.

Don’t tell a business what they should do. And if you do and a business decides to call you on it and tells you what you should do, be ready for it. Turn about’s fair play.

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