Herrin Festa Impacts Vendors and Local Businesses

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By Evie Allen
By Andy Shofstall

HERRIN -- Herrinfesta Italiana always means food, fun, and music. But how does the festival impact local businesses? What aboout the all the vendors that visit Herrin?

From the carnival rides to the live music, Herrinfesta is a time for people to get out and have some fun. As you walk through the streets, you'll find dozens of vendors. For some, this is their livelihood. 

Frank Dowler, his wife and mother-in-law have been coming to Herrin Festa for nine years.
 
"This gives us time to travel and see and experience different things," says Dowler.
 
They set up a booth selling airbrush tattoos and specialized jewelry. They take part in 40 festivals a year, which can be tough for business if weather is bad.
 
"If it's hot, cold or primarily cold or rainy. If it's really cold in the fall people don't like to take their coats and sweaters off for a tattoo," he explains.
 
The family travels almost three hours away to set up shop. But traveling vendors can be shaky for the local businesses.
 
Management with the Newman and Camden Company say business fluctuates during this time.
 
"People are here for the fair, so in the mornings they still do really well but the last two nights have honestly been a little bit slower than we normally are," says night manager Phillip Workman.
 
The festival helps get the almost two-year-old business noticed more.
 
"More and more people walk past here and realize that it's here and they see the sign and come in. At least they know it's here even if they didn't buy anything," he says.
 
Workman says they look forward to Saturday when sales will peak.
 
"We're definitely excited to see a big crowd because I think the parade will be ending just about in time for lunch."
 
The festival continues through Memorial Day. The Grand Parade  is Saturday morning at 11a.m.
 
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