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Cupcake decorating station at street festival. Logistics?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I had an idea late last night while lying in bed and now I'm trying to figure out how to pull it off.

My DAR chapter has a table at this particular street festival to try to raise money for our current project. (Happens to be preserving a 1 room schoolhouse).

Last year I made 600 cake pops that were "free with donation." I don't have that kind of time this year and the ladies thought it would be a better idea to have a general bake sale. Yeah, this event is on Sunday and 2 people have signed up to make cookies. I'm in a panic.

So, my idea was to have a cupcake decorating station. It would kind of advertise my business (cake decorating parties) and give us a lot of something to "sell" (free with donation). I can get plain cupcakes and BC from Sam's Clubs since there is such short notice. I'm thinking I would display 3 designs, have all the supplies, and show people how to DIY, which is essentially the basis of my decorating business anyway.

So now I'm thinking about the food handling safety aspect of it. People are handling their own cupcakes. The issue would be the buttercream. I can either stick in piping bags and then teach them how to use, or pre-fill into little portion cups and they can use a knife.

I was originally just planning to make apple cupcakes to go with the school theme, but that's easy enough to show them. If I really did a DIY cupcake stand, I would also do hamburgers, and I would have to think of the others.

I would be wearing gloves. Should I make the "customer" also wear gloves if they are handling a communal piping bag, or should that not even be option to handle anything communal... just give pre-filled portion cups or I can pipe?


Is this really feasible? Does it sound like a huge pain?
Kelly G.
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Kelly G.
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post #2 of 4
A very huge pain. But doable.

Your local HD will have the answers to these questions.

One issue I see with what you wrote... you want to promote your business, but you are using the worst products on the market. I helped my daughter's class with a fundraiser. They got box mixes and I got that big tub of fake buttercream from Sam's. These were all honors students and they stayed on task, but it was a mess (they cleaned it up). I had bowls set up and they could use all of my extracts, colors, and sprinkles. I showed them how to use the piping bags and they caught on right away.

I think the bags make the most sense until someone licks the tip. Kidding, but you will have to watch. They set the bags down and the table gets nasty. The sprinkles go everywhere.

Ok, that was the bad part. If you prepare for this, you should be better off. Gloves, cups for piping bags, maybe a 9 oz highball cup with a plastic bag and bow to bring them home.

But I am still totally convinced that your business card with Sam's products will do you more harm than good.

If it was me, I would bake my cupcakes and make my buttercream. Then show only how easy it is to make a swirl. That's it. I know you said you didn't have time for that. My next thought would be learning the swirl with the bag and tip, but just on parchment squares and then discard. The patrons would be making a donation to learn the swirl. You could sell one bag and one tip at a premium too.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
My business is really teaching kids to decorate and doing birthday party entertainment., not baking. It's more cost effective for me to use Sam's stuff. I've spent the past 3 years doing everything from scratch and it's been expensive and no one ever requests anything other than plain yellow or chocolate anyway. And truly, once a cupcake has been rolled in sanding sugar, I think it's fairly disgusting and completely ruins my Sylvia Weinstock Classic Yellow.

So, Sam's it shall be.


I think I have figured out what I'm going to do. Bringing 300 cupcakes, BC, and my supply kit, along with gloves. I will do several with basic swirl and will have sprinkles and candies for kids to do themselves. Also planning to do 3 fancier decorations onsite: apple, pumpkin, and cherry pie. Will just decorate there and let people watch or have a try if they desire. I'm going to keep business cards on hand in case anyone inquires, but for the most part will just be a volunteer raising money for a charity because I don't want to flag the health department or licensing people. My business is completely legitimate and official so I don't want anyone dancing around saying, "You should know better."
Kelly G.
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Kelly G.
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post #4 of 4
I don't get the whole, "flag the HD or licensing people". You just said you are licensed.

You still need to ask the HD about what you can and can't do. For example, both of my counties require that if I am off-premisis and performing work, not just delivering, that I am to contact them with my location, date, and time. They will have other specifics for not being in a licensed kitchen at the location of the event.

Staying under the radar doesn't usually work because they are usually at these events.
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