August 20, 2019
For years and years, Wilson Bank & Trust has been known at the Wilson County Fair for free popsicles and lemonade. As I learned firsthand this year, it takes more preparation than you think to get our booth space ready every August!
As bank trainees, Taylor and I had the opportunity recently to help with the two-day fair setup, which starts with a full day Thursday to get ready for opening day on Friday. We worked alongside seasoned veterans Laura Smith in Marketing and Robert Huttchson in Maintenance, so we were in great hands.
Our first job was sorting through marketing boxes from the previous fairs (we’re involved in just about every county fair in the area, and Wilson is the grand finale of our fair season). Once we had everything organized and separated, we started loading the truck for the fairgrounds. Our first stop was the Turner Evans booth, near the front entrance, which is actually two booths combined. On one side, staffed by our lending team, we set up a table with WBT flyers, pens, the registration box for this year’s big giveaway (a $500 Mastercard gift card), registration slips and sunflower props. On the other side, we set up a School Bank table, and then it was time for the fun part... POPSICLES! Taylor, Laura and I loaded up on the gator and headed to get the first of many loads to stock the freezer at the booth. Our first load consisted of 3,168 popsicles. You read that right, more than 3,000 just on the first trip!! We ended up making four trips to fully stock our six freezers, so we transported roughly 14,000 popsicles to get ready for Friday night. With the attendance up during the first few days of the fair this year, I hear they may have had to bring in even more later!
We also have a booth in Fiddlers Grove Historic Village, outside the bank building that’s a replica from the early 1800’s, complete with a barred teller window and some other antique banking equipment inside. Our booth in this area is where we’re known for cold lemonade. Our setup started with a table for printed materials about the bank. Then it was time to take on the lemonade. We mixed six 10- gallon coolers of it! I’d wondered how in the world that was done, and I got my answer: there’s a bright orange oar used to stir the drink mix into the ice water! (I’m convinced it’s orange for Vols fans, like myself.)
Back at the main booth, something new we’re offering this year is a pair of cell phone charging stations. Assembling those was another one of our jobs. If they don’t work properly, we’ll blame Taylor ;).
There’s a lot of work that goes into setting up events, and doing that at a huge venue like the Wilson County Fair is a big job, but it comes with a lot of enjoyable moments. Besides getting all the booths ready from top to bottom and picking up and delivering fair signs, and went to borrow a convertible from Bates Ford for the parade, and made a run to Sonic for some drinks to beat the heat.
The effort that went into preparing for WBT’s presence at the Wilson County Fair was a good reminder that when you work as a team, you can accomplish just about anything. We spent two very busy days getting everything ready, and that’s time well spent when you think about the thousands of visitors who’ll enjoy our popsicles, drink our lemonade and chat with our employees while they make great memories at the fair!