Local business owners Jennifer Swenson Stans and Ruby Tungseth hosted the first Fergus Falls OutdoorVendor Blender at Kirkbride Park on Saturday, Aug. 12, with more than 30 socially distanced vendors. “A lot of the home-based businesses have missed out on a lot of events this summer so it’s hurt their income and their exposure for new customers, so I just wanted to give people a chance,” said Stans. “Of course we missed our Summerfest this year, so we thought that now that a little bit of time has gone by we could try and put an event together and this time just do vendors, not do any extra activities.”
Both Tungseth and Stans had their own stands at vendor blender, Tungseth with Ruby’s Pinoy Foods and Stans with Lemongrass Spa. “(Tungseth) has her egg roll stand and has a spot downtown,” said Stans, “but a lot of the rest of our vendors don’t have actual business sites, brick and mortar, so it really is important to let them come out and set up as much as they can. I just wanted, if anybody wanted to take advantage of the opportunity, I wanted to give them a chance.”
Stans and Tungseth sent Facebook invitations to potential vendors to invite them to the event. “Lots of vendors showed up so that’s definitely a plus. We thought, maybe it’s hard, but let’s see,” Tungseth said. Vendors sold a variety of goods including children’s books, clothing, fair food, jewelry, Tupperware, makeup, syrup and novelty items.
“We had 44 signed up but I think about 10 of them didn’t show so we’re probably around 34 today. Still a great turnout for a first-time event like this,” said Stans.
The success of Saturday’s event has prompted Stans and Tungseth to consider making it a regular annual affair. “We just kind of ran with it and decided to open it up and see what the response was and we had a great response. We’re really pleased, maybe it’s something that we could try again next year, we’ll just see how things go, but so far so good,” said Stans. Tungseth said next year they might try something a little bigger, with games for children.
Despite the overcast sky, a healthy crowd still made it out to Kirkbride Park to browse wares and get an order of egg rolls or cheese curds. “This is our first time and it went well, I think,” Tungseth said. “I think it’s so far so good and people are coming.”