Back in August, a friend told me and another friend about a fundraiser opportunity for NAMI (or whatever charity we picked) that said friend's sister was involved with. Since the NAMI Walk in my area was coming up, and this event was not long after that, I figured why not. I was already in that fundraising state-of-mind. When will I learn that I don't LIVE in that state, but am merely a tourist passing through occasionally? SO. The event is a chocolate/coffee/wine festival and we would get the booth space for free (usually $250). Registrants have to agree to give samples of their chocolate/coffeee or wine product to all the attendees, and they are allowed to sell merchandise or food products to raise money for their charity. The friend's sister said she already had a vendor lined up who would contribute product for us. It was a baker. Easy product to store and easy to serve, so I figured ok this sounds pretty easy. I contacted the vendor and they responded with a "What? No way can I provide as much samples as the event wants (expecting 2,000 attendees), and besides I went to that event before and didn't like it -- too much work for me and not enough revenue." Okaaaaaaaay. Quick email to the sister to ask WTH now? She insists the baker is confused. So I contact the baker again and ask if she'd consider donating a smaller amount of product for samples. She was fine with that, agreed to give me 300 sample pieces, and went one step further giving me some full-size product to raffle at the upcoming NAMI Walk. Awesome! Now all I had to do was find more vendors, because I'm told I cannot serve homemade foods. After several strikeouts with about a half dozen local vendors, I decide that I need to just come up with something to sell to actually raise FUNDS at this fundraiser, and I come up with T-shirts. I wrote a catchy phrase and ordered some from an online company. Only 25 though, and I'm thinking this is just not going to be enough. So I decide to make another version that's blinged with rhinestones that I'll sell for more. And if nothing sells? Well, I'll let you know when I put them up on eBay. Anyway, the regular T's should be here next week, I have the other shirts and the bling transfers are being made, and I found a shop that will set them for cheap. Should be able to get it all together before the event which is the weekend after Halloween. Fast forward a few weeks (by the way, the NAMI Walk raffle was a total bust. Sold 3 whole tickets to someone in the booth nextdoor because I think she felt sorry for me and difficult child 2 sitting there all morning with lots of people stopping to hear my pitch but no takers for the tickets) and now I'm having to fill out paperwork for the health department in connection with this festival. I have to provide my local NAMI proof of non-profit status, a letter signed by them promising that their reps (me) are non-commercial working in the festival and all proceeds will go to them, the non-profit group. The festival gal gives me all of 2 days notice to get this turned in. I tell her there's no guarantee since I'm depending on OTHER PEOPLE to get the info, etc. My contact at NAMI says she can get it all for me by Friday. Great, I'm thinking. Friday afternoon rolls around, it's my anniversary, I'm trying to taxi kids around, get ready to go out with husband and still no word from my NAMI contact and the festival gal is emailing me and texting me frantically because she needs those forms back. So I call my NAMI contact again and as the phone is going to voicemail I glance at my calendar and see that it's Yom Kippur. And remembering that this woman is Jewish it dawns on me that I probably won't be hearing from her this evening. So what does the festival woman tell me to do? Look for the NAMI certificate online and sign the letter myself as a volunteer. Great, thanks, yeah I'll get right on that tonight because I have absolutely NOTHING going on. I have NO life apparently. I scrambled and did manage locate what she needed and drafted a letter and faxed everything over. About an hour before I was supposed to be heading out the door with husband. Which brings us to last week. The next form I have to submit is the food info sheet describing in detail what I'll be serving in the booth. They want to know where it's made, how it's made, and what's in it. I email that to the baker and she FLIPS telling me her recipes are proprietary and trademarked and no way she'll share that info. Okaaaaaay. I ask my festival rep what to do, and she tells me to just find a basic recipe for the product online and submit that. So I let the baker know that's what I'd be doing and she goes nuclear saying she cannot allow her product to be represented as generic and refuses to let anyone give it away or even sell it in that kind of environment. HOE. LEE. COW. She's done! She pulled out! I forwarded the email to my rep who explains the paperwork is STRICTLY for the health department and not the public and it's merely to ensure what we're offering is safe for human consumption. Duh. I get that. So in my apology email to the baker (more like sorry you freaked out over this stupid thing) I let her know all the background info and then I crossed my fingers she'd reconsider. Nope. She didn't respond at all. Greeaaat. No samples to give at a food sampling event. Now what? Festival rep now tells me that I CAN serve homemade goods! WHAAAAAAT?!!! I just went through all this drama and garbage for what, the sheer joy of it?!!! Sigh. So now I'm hoping my other two friends who agreed to help with this can actually step up and do some baking the week before the festival. I figure that's probably the cheapest and easiest chocolate-related thing we could offer. And I'm hoping I'm not the only one working our booth from 2-9pm that Friday and 11-9pm Saturday. I really shoulda just said no.