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Dale's Tourist Attracting Gimmicks and Events for a Farm/Park/Campground

 
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Dale's Tourist Attracting Gimmicks and Events for a Farm/Park/Campground

I hope to create a think tank here concerning the various methods that may be employed to attract customers to a farm that also serves as a park and campground. I want to use this property to host all manner of outdoor events that would be compatible with the park theme (no motorcycle races or bull riding.) I've already documented many ideas on other threads and will link them to here. Below is an incomplete list of possible attractions that would set me apart in the crowded touristy marketplace.

First a bit about my location. I'm about 8 miles from the city of Nanaimo which contains about 100,000 residents. I'm 6 1/2 miles off the Trans Canada Highway and just off another good quality paved road. (Being off the main drag eliminates many possibilities for gimmicky roadside stuff. Giant mascots and weird freak show stuff doesn't work here anyway) The land (7 1/2 acres) is on high ground running 1. km along the ridge above the Nanaimo River valley(long and skinny.) I don't have river frontage but do have panoramic views of the valley. All of my slopes point south. I'm bordered by forest on all sides. This thread has some photos and discusses the creation of a park on some of the land -Creating organic farm, park and bird sanctuary http://www.permies.com/t/10662/permaculture/Creating-organic-farm-park-bird

Here's a list of the various attractions already planned or under consideration.

1. A bus to haul people to the site is already in hand. I own a 24 passenger vehicle and operate as Victoria Camping Bus and Charters.

2. All buildings made of natural materials with earthen plasters, living roof systems etc.

3. Goats and sheep on the roof. This is a proven crowd pleaser which only makes sense if you're building the roof anyway.

4. Various park buildings which employ Rocket Mass Heaters, solar heating, and natural materials. Check out Dale's Rocket Mass Heater/ Grill/Pizza Oven/Hot Water Heater – One appliance does it all. http://www.permies.com/t/19603/stoves/Dale-Rocket-Mass-Heater-Grill

5. A sewage system which produces methane for cooking in a big picnic building. Click here -Dale's Pit Toilet - Methane Digester For My Campground/Farm/Park http://www.permies.com/t/19678/composting-toilet/Dale-Pit-Toilet-Methane-Digester

6. A nature house which contains plant and animal specimens along with photographs and viewing platforms.

7. A mini forest ranger tower. Being on top of the ridge, this doesn't need to be very tall. It may be built as an atrium protruding through the roof of the nature house.

8. Beaver pond. Beavers require minimal care and are not rare but tourists from Europe and other places view them as quite exotic. I've only managed to sneak up on a few in the wild. They're quite skittish, yet make friendly pets once they realize that we aren't going to eat them. Thousands of them are killed each year by woodland managers. That's where they'll come from. Check this out - Beaver pond/aquaponic system for processing wood waste http://www.permies.com/t/10761/critter-care/Beaver-pond-aquaponic-system-processing

9. Petting zoo. Nothing expensive, exotic or dangerous. Just some friendly hay burners for the kids to feed. (sheep, goats, pony,ducks, fish, turtles...)

10. Bird and wildlife viewing blinds placed to provide comfortable viewing without scaring everything away.

11. A swimming area. Probably a pond containing nutrient hungry plants so that chemicals are not required. Insurance considerations will make or break this one. There's no shortage of water or good sites.

12. Tree top walk with possible zip line.(insurance....)

13. Camping “cabins” which are styled after various natural buildings from around the world. You could stay in a Norman castle, a Viking sod house, an English cob house, An Ojibway wigwam, a Bedouin tent , a Nootka longhouse a Thai stilt house hung over the pond or a dozen others all in miniature. This would be a big draw for the kids and anyone interested in natural building.

EVENTS
1.Camping – campers could occupy many of the other structures during bad weather and they will be able to cook with gas or on rocket stoves. We have open fire bans during the camping season.

2. Company functions, family reunions, weddings, and other group gatherings. I don't plan on becoming a full time party planner. I would expect groups that plan to cook their own food and mostly look after themselves. I provide the venue. I could see working with someone who puts these events together. I could provide transportation.

3. Green Building Events – Host events where visitors learn how to build with cob or wood chip clay, build a green roof or other structures... Sometimes this might be more of an introductory tour. Watch some clay plaster application, cook lunch with bio-gas, watch the goats eating on the roof, spend the evening socializing around a rocket mass heater/spa.

4. Horticultural events – Learn how to construct hugelkultur beds, manage a water garden, raise fish in an aquaponics system...

FARM PRODUCE
With all of these people coming and going, there will be plenty of opportunity to sell farm produce for full retail without having to haul it to a public marketplace. I could offer to supply certain items for group events and tours according to what is in abundance at any given time.

FOOD RULES -All rules regarding restaurants are non-applicable when the people prepare that food themselves.(yes, I've checked this out every which way.) I could book a tour that includes trying out the cob ovens with baked potatoes, roasted squash and bread included in the deal. For it to be legal, the meal must not be the only service provided and customers must help in preparing the meal. The cooking facilities on my bus fall under this same ruling. I can't sell hamburgers to everyone who passes by, but passengers may cook their own meals or help me to do it. I'm allowed to supply the food. I'm not allowed to supply meat or milk other than stuff from the store. The authorities don't care where I get fruit, vegetables and baked goods. I am allowed to sell you a chicken which you kill and cook but I don't see that as likely. (“Hey kids, lets go to that petting zoo beside the Nature House, then we'll feed the ducks and watch the goats on the roof, then we'll kill a chicken and cook it up.” )

With that digression, I'll leave it now in your capable hands. Please make any suggestions for structures, attractions or events that you think could work within the context of a farm and campground.

Thank You: Dale Hodgins
 
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a restaurant
 
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Set up various craft and skill demos. Shearing sheep all the way to finished wool hats. Broom making. Basket weaving. Soap making. Milking (surprisingly scary how many adults think milk comes from the store).
 
Dale Hodgins
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R Scott wrote:Set up various craft and skill demos. Shearing sheep all the way to finished wool hats. Broom making. Basket weaving. Soap making. Milking (surprisingly scary how many adults think milk comes from the store).



Yes, I think that all of those things are viable. I won't personally learn all of those skills but will invite others who have something to sell to practice their craft at my place. For things requiring workshop space and storage, I'll charge a little rent. I expect to take product in trade for those with more product than money and to market those things to my customers. Since I'm off the beaten path, I can't count on walk by traffic. I could see partnering with craftspeople who need a spot to host workshops. I would pick up participants with the bus and provide food. That sort of thing would probably be a 50/50 deal. If they bring the people and feed them. the split might be 80/20 in their favour.

The #1 way for me to court this market will be to charge nothing if the event is a bust. I've been to flea markets that failed to draw a crowd but the vendors still had to pay full price for their space. Many crafters simply don't have the margins needed to absorb such losses. If the weather fails or the customers just don't show up, we'll dust ourselves off and try again. What I'm offering is mostly outdoor space and picnic shelters, so it costs me nothing if the event doesn't work. I won't book the bus unless participants have paid in advance but even with that there will often be a no rain guarantee for outdoor events.

Here's three more threads relating to the development of the property.found giant, natural hugelkultur on my property http://www.permies.com/t/10357/permaculture/giant-natural-hugelkultur-property

And another - Building RMH long before the house is finished http://www.permies.com/t/10037/stoves/Building-RMH-long-house-finished

Moving into greenhouse-potting shed first , House later http://www.permies.com/t/10898/green-building/Moving-greenhouse-potting-shed-House
 
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broom and hearth whisks go over very well, and little competition with chinese goods.

a very viable one is telescope parties. if you put in cabins, they will come if you keep light pollution very low.
when putting in walkway lights, consider using red and amber only. they are cheap , cuz everyone wants bright white.

shield all lights from windows, and have it in rental agreement that all south facing shades drawn at 8 pm or so.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Morgan Morrigan wrote:broom and hearth whisks go over very well, and little competition with chinese goods.

a very viable one is telescope parties. if you put in cabins, they will come if you keep light pollution very low.
when putting in walkway lights, consider using red and amber only. they are cheap , cuz everyone wants bright white.

shield all lights from windows, and have it in rental agreement that all south facing shades drawn at 8 pm or so.




Anything to do with crafty products will be left to tenants or guests in a workshop setting. I like the telescope idea. I could see building a cupola on top of the nature house and a few other buildings which could serve as cabins with a view. Most of the Island's population live within 2 miles of the ocean and at a lower elevation where the night sky is often misty. I get some really clear nights in summer. Morgan wins a free weekend in one of these currently non existent buildings.
 
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The culinary farm - you provide cooking environment and knowledge when needed.
Catering is not cheap. But if you have the right setup one can work with client on menu and make sure everything they need to buy, store, prepare, cook, and serve are available.


Scenario

1) client has a event that they need a place to hold it.
2) they work with you on recipes and what they want to serve. You also define event setup and any special needs for event that you cannot provide.
3) you put the shopping list together. Could use Kroger Clicklist to order online and pickup.
4) Clients spend time before event learning to use pizza oven, etc. if needed.
5) food and supplies are picked up and put away properly for customer (your are a form of Uber).
6) You setup kitchen, cooking area, dinning area, etc.
7) Part of the event is picking fresh herbs and vegetables from onsite garden.
Clients arrive and harvest bean, herbs, peppers, etc.
9) Clients prep food with help as needed.
10) Clients cook food with help as needed.
11) Client serves food
12) You get to do all the cleanup




 
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