For a student interested in business, it is the perfect hands-on project. For a business club, it is the perfect fund raiser.
And for the community at large, it is a great holiday season opener and a lot of shopping fun.
From 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, the Great Bend High School Future Business Leaders of America chapter will sponsor the fifth-annual business and craft festival at the Panther Activity Center.
"We now have 77 booths," said Cody Lee, FBLA sponsor and business teacher. "That’s all that the PAC will hold."
In the past five years, the event has grown from 12 vendors in the high school commons area to a list of people waiting to make the cut and exhibit their wares.
"I’ve had to learn how to deal with people," said Donna Craven, FBLA vice president. "I’ve had to make calls that are hard to make, like telling people we don’t have room for them."
Ryan Jacobs, FBLA media coordinator, has been busy creating a website for the show. He figured out how vendors can register online. That portion of the site will open Saturday, so people can register that day for next year.
"It’s strictly first come, first served," Jacobs said.
"We have a lot of home-based businesses, but we would like to emphasize the craft side," Lee said. She said the event is held at the same time that the Dominican Sisters have their annual bazaar and that it seems to work to the advantage of both groups. "It makes a full day of shopping for people.
"Club members have learned that the only way we can get the vendors back is for them to make money," Lee said. "By meeting the needs of our customers – the vendors – we help them meet the needs of their customers. That’s why good service is so important."
All 80 FBLA members will be on hand Saturday to help vendors load and unload all of their goods. "We might be the only group who gives that kind of service," she said.
The payoff is huge, she added. Last year, the group earned more than $3,000 with the fund raiser. Money is used to help send business students to state and national competition.