By Susan Banks
One festival has led to 32 years of festivals, a shop with two major seasons, a wholesale business, and a busy website.
I am a traveler, a tinker, a camper. Combine it all and I am, well…a happy camper. Prior to opening our shop in 1992, I vended at top craft festivals with fabric art and quilts for 17 years. When I reached 35 weekends, I decided it was time to put down roots in one location. After researching demographics, and creating a niche market, Faith & Begorra was born on June 9, 1992. Two weeks later we vended at our first Irish Festival and I loved it. The buzz of 1000s and up to 300k people coming through your 10×20 booth, selling the finest gifts and clothing made in Ireland, has hooked me.
Fast forward 31 years and yes, we are still travelers, going all over to Irish & Celtic Festivals. Over the years we have gone from Long Island, to Hunter Mt, to East Durham, Chicago, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Dublin, Pittsburgh, Jersey City, and Bethlehem, PA to name a few.
We have refined our booth and our time. We are tinkers, and known as the Hanna Hat Booth (they are the only hats still fully made in Ireland). We also are the Baby Booth selling our own sweet line of Wee One baby clothes, designed and embroidered at our shop. Rounding out our booth we vend jewelry, capes, socks, blankets and Harris Tweed Accessories from Ireland and Scotland.
The fun part comes in that in all the years we have never stayed in a hotel. We have camped! Started on my own with a one person tent, and thru the years we upgraded to get to where we are now, a 25’ Airstream. It is like living at home, but that home moves once a week for almost three months. Sometimes I have to open the door to see where we actually are. We schedule the festivals to get a couple weeks off. We have stayed in some amazing places such as Shipshewana, IN, a quilting haven in IN, to Muscatine, Iowa, where we spend a week on the Banks of the Mississippi River, watching the barges go by. I am fascinated by the River, and love watching the barges coming and going. Fun fact…the channel the barges go thru are only 9’ deep!
Setting up, selling, tearing down and moving on down the road is how we roll during the festival season when we take Faith & Begorra on the road!
Susan Banks is known as a wife, mom, and Grammie Sue. She is also the owner of Faith & Begorra, Past President of Denville Chamber of Commerce, Past President of North American Celtic Trade Association, mentor to the International Highland Games Festival Chairmen, and mentor to International Celtic & Irish Festival Directors.