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Vendor Application News!

We’re currently testing the new application and making sure it’s working and friendly in multiple browsers, so you won’t get any messages about what browser you’re using. (We’re testing in IE7 through 9, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari, to cover everyone from Macs to PCs.) Between the holiday and the massive catastrophe on the east coast, however, there have been delays, so we’re moving the opening application date to Monday, November 5th 2012. That’s right, NEXT MONDAY you can start your application to vend at the 2013 Kite Festival!

The majority of the application is basically the same as the old printed-out version in terms of the information required. All the usual stuff (name, email, phone, etc), but it’s also streamlined to only ask you about things related to your type of vending (food, retail, activity, etc). No more confusion about whether you have to provide this paperwork or that. The application will look at what you’ve entered and tell you exactly what you need!

Behind the jump are more details, including some exciting new features for vendors (and festival-goers) at the next festival.

The first part is filling out the form with all your information, and then the app will create an account for you. After you’ve confirmed your email, you’ll log in with your email and password to get a personalized checklist. It will list exactly what forms and other information you’ll need to complete your application. You can get everything together and log back in when you’re ready, or you can get started right away. Your vendor summary will also contain information on your estimated vendor fees, a schedule of important deadlines, and a summarized list of your vendor information. When you’re accepted as a vendor, you’ll log back in to accept, and to see your assigned location(s). Your vendor summary will also have download directions for where you’ll be unloading, parking, and so on, when those are available. We’re aiming to make it your one-stop for everything festival-vending related.

If you haven’t been a vendor before, you might not be aware the festival’s vendors are juried. In the past, this has meant every vendor must send in piles of photographs attached to a list of what’s being sold and each item’s cost. Now, you’ll be able to create  your sales list (food, retail, activities, etc) online. For instance, if you’re selling kites: you’d enter your first item, with a description of “big red kite”,  enter the item’s price, and attach a digital image. Save the entry, and then repeat for the rest of the items in your sales list. You’ll end up with an itemized list, and the jury won’t end up confused about which pictures go with which descriptions.

Why do this? For one, it saves paper — in past years, the ton of mailed-in paperwork has often buried our dedicated Festival organizers (who are volunteers, after all). Second, it saves time, because if an application is incomplete, you’ll know it right away. Much better than years previous, when you’d only find out once someone’s gotten your application and had the time to go through it, call you back, then you have to email or mail what’s missing, and so on. But best of all, this means that next year your account will already be in place!

That’s right, we’re doing this to make it easier to re-apply each year. When the 2014 application period opens, you can log in, review your information, edit anything that’s changed (ie if you have a new phone number, have added/changed sales items, etc), and submit again. Tada! Yes, we really are trying to make it that simple.

The other major change? If you know the old printed form, you’ll see some questions this time around that are brand-new, like a paragraph describing your company/organization. And if you’re selling food, you’ll be asking about what kind of cuisine (there’s a whole list to pick from), as well as whether you’re selling food that’s gluten-free, vegetarian, halal, kosher, etc.

What? Why would we ask this? Because for 2013, we’ll have a mobile site for the festival!

A festival-goer with a smartphone will open the mobile site and click on the map to find all the vendors in a location. Then the person can click on a particular vendor and see your information: your description, a list of what you’re selling, and a link to your own website, facebook page, or twitter stream. (So if you have those, be sure to enter them, too, when you apply!) If you’re a food vendor, your information page will also list your menu and the dietary notes you’ve made, so parents and children with allergies or other dietary restrictions will be able to find you easily and quickly. That’s just one of the features we’ll be adding. More to come!

So, please bear with us as we test the application. We’re expecting there will be some bumps as we roll it out for the first time, but we’re trying to minimize those as much as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding. Thank you, and remember, check back to this space on November 5th, 2012 for the link to the brand-new online vendor application for the 85th Annual Zilker Kite Festival!

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