It was a big step for Quarky Science to have a commercial booth at the Saanich Fair. Coming off our success at the Vancouver Island Maker Faire, we caught a bit of the booth bug and decided to go all in! It was a bit of a marathon to run the booth over the entire Labour Day weekend, but well worth it. It was nice doing another local fair, when you only have a ten minute drive to work in the morning. We met a lot of new people and got better connected with the community we live in. Quarky Science gave out about a thousand business cards over the course of the long weekend. One friend of ours has suggested that we have a Robot Arm Edge, from Elenco, set up to hand out business cards and on consideration it does seem like a pretty cool idea!
It was also a big step forward for us in terms of mobile E-Commerce. We purchased a Blackberry Torch, for what we hope is a five year investment, to use to as an internet hotspot. It effectively gives our laptop access to our website, from the booth. I could forgo the laptop and run it all off the phone, except that for those of us with big fingers it’s a lot easier to use the laptop’s mouse and keyboard than the phone’s tiny buttons. For our needs the Blackberry was an easy decision, given that they have the top security among smart phones. We might not have all the cool aps available for other phones, but being an online business, security comes first. The hardest part about using a laptop at a booth, on a sunny weekend, is fighting past the glare of the Sun on the screen.
The biggest regrets of operating a booth at the Saanich Fair were not being able to volunteer at the Royal Astronomical Society’s booth, like I did last year, and not being able to wander the fairgrounds to take in the festivities. I did hand out some RASC pamphlets to some patrons with an interest in astronomy and directed more than a few people to the astronomy booth, where they were letting the public view the Sun with solar telescopes. Viewing the Sun through a hydrogen alpha filter is an amazing sight, so I made sure to get over to the RASC booth at least once a day to take a look through one of them myself. I also managed to get spelled off from work a few times to grab a bite to eat at one of the fine ethnic food booths or to briefly watch equestrian events in the riding ring, but most of the time I was manning the Quarky Science booth. We did another free draw for another Deluxe Handheld Digital Microscope, something that is beginning to become a bit of a habit for us at fairs.