DFA Festival Handbook

Are you a Vendor? Entertainer? Downtown Franklin Merchant? This is your guide to engaging with our signature festivals throughout the year.  From application deadlines to rules of the game to tricks of the trade – this handbook is designed to help create the greatest experience for everyone involved in the many moving parts of our beloved annual festivals like Main Street Festival, PumpkinFest™, and Dickens of a Christmas™.

Visit the tab below that fits your description to optimize your festival experience!  

DFA Members

Booths are available to downtown merchants as an exclusive benefit to members of the Downtown Franklin Association. There are a limited number of Early-Bird Booths available to DFA members by a specified deadline, per festival, on a first-come/first-served basis.  Early bird pricing is available to each DFA member for one booth space.  Additional space can be purchased at full booth pricing.  After every Early-Bird Booth is booked and/or the early-bird deadline has passed, DFA members can purchase full-priced booths until the final appointed deadline.  

Dickens of a Christmas™ – December 11-12, 2021

Key Activations include Victorian Village (½ of the 400 block and 300 block of Main Street), KidZone (4th Ave South), Food Truck Alley (3rd North), Beerhouse (Public Square NE Quadrant), Possible activation at 2nd Ave and Main Street (TBD), Main Stage, Acoustic Stage (4th Avenue N Corner), Other Activations likely but not solidified. 

  • DFA Regular Applications Due (Early-Bird Pricing Only): November 5, 2021 (BOOK HERE)

Main Street Festival – April 23-24, 2022

There are no street-wide activation areas. This is predominantly an arts & crafts festival. Key Activations: KidZone (4th Ave South), Food Truck Alley (3rd North), Beerhouse (Public Square NE Quadrant), Main Stage, Acoustic Stage

  • DFA Early Bird Applications Due: January 1, 2022 - January 31, 2022 
  • DFA Regular Applications Due: February 1, 2022 - February 16, 2022 

PumpkinFest™ – October 29, 2022

Key Activations include Autumn Alley (TBD after the DFA poll following PumpkinFest™ 2021), KidZone (4th Ave South), Food Truck Alley (3rd North), Rotary Chili Cookoff with Beer and Whiskey (Public Square NE Quadrant), Possible activation at 2nd Ave and Main Street (TBD), Main Stage, Acoustic Stage (4th Avenue N Corner)

  • DFA Early Bird Applications Due: July 1, 2022 - July 31, 2022 
  • DFA Regular Applications Due: August 1, 2022 - August 12, 2022 

Dickens of a Christmas™ – December 10-11, 2022

Key Activations include Victorian Village (½ of the 400 block and 300 block of Main Street), KidZone (4th Ave South), Food Truck Alley (3rd North), Beerhouse (Public Square NE Quadrant), Possible activation at 2nd Ave and Main Street (TBD), Main Stage, Acoustic Stage (4th Avenue N Corner), Other Activations likely but not solidified. 

  • DFA Early Bird Applications Due: August 13, 2022 - September 16, 2022 
  • DFA Regular Applications Due: September 17, 2022 - October 7, 2022 

Regulations: 

  • All vendors must supply their own freestanding white 10 x 10 tent.
  • All tents must have a 40Ib weight per leg (City of Franklin Requirement).  
  • Tent legs may not be staked into the pavement.  
  • No amplified sound is permitted to be coming from any booth. 
  • No overstock merchandise may be stored on sidewalks.  Sidewalks must stay clear for pedestrians and emergency personnel.  
  • Temporary Signage may be hung on the outside of the building if written permission has been obtained from the landlord. (City officials may ask for verification of proof.)
  • Temporary signage like balloons (freestanding and weighted) and feather signs do not need landlord approval but must allow clear and easy ADA accessibility to the sidewalk. 

Electricity: 

  • Electricity is not available in all areas of the festival which is why we recommended reserving electricity when securing your booth if you desire it.   
  • Electricity is not guaranteed after the deadline to reserve it for each festival. Some locations throughout the footprint do not have access to electricity.
  • Electricity is available at $75 per 110 hookup. Electrical connections are limited and available on a first-come/first-served basis.   
  • Vendors must bring their own 100 ft. outdoor-rated extension cord.   
  • Generators are not permitted.  
  • Maximum of 10 amps per circuit will be available. 

NOTE: If you need electric assistance during the festival, contact one of the Heritage Foundation staff to access the electrician on-site during the event.  The Heritage Foundation booth is located in the public square.  Please feel free to stop by with any questions, and someone will help you get in touch with the right party.

Key City Regulations:

Please note, this is not a comprehensive list of all requirements and/or regulations issued by the City of Franklin. 

  • The fire department requires a 20-foot wide access lane down all streets. The fire lane may be achieved by:  
    • Having 10-foot booths on both sides of the street  
    • Having larger booths on one side of the street  
  • A minimum of 10-feet is required on either side of a fire hydrant. A minimum of 10-feet is required from the edge of an alley to the first booth. 
  • Tents using open flames, such as candles, portable heaters, must have one ABC fire extinguisher that is fully charged. 
  • At the end of the festival, dismissals are executed by the egress path issued jointly by the City of Franklin Police and Fire Department.  

HERE is a copy of the official egress map, and HERE is the planning map. Please note, these are not likely to be changed and have been the instituted policies by several key departments that oversee the overall logistics and safety of events and festivals that happen within the Downton Franklin footprint.  

Festival Set-Up Timeline: 

Friday 

  • 8:00p - Street shut down with barricades 
  • 9:00p-12:00a - OPEN Vendor Registration in HF Tent and Event Setup  

Saturday 

  • 6:00a-9:00a - FINAL Vendor Registration in HF Tent and Setup 
  • 8:30-10:00a - Fire Marshall & City Inspection of all booths and food trucks 
  • 10:00a - Festival Opens 

NOTE: You may check-in and set up either Friday night or Saturday morning. The deadline to finish setting up is 9am Saturday morning! All vendors must check-in before setting up.

Check-In:

Pick up your check-in packets from our Heritage Foundation Tent located in the Public Square:

    • Friday - Check-In and Setup Time: 9:00p-12:00a 
    • Saturday - Check-In and Setup Time: 6:00a-9:00a 

You must pick up your packet before setting up your booth!

Your packet will include: 

  • Egress dashboard sign (you will need this to join the cue for packing up and leaving the festival) 
  • Updated City of Franklin Egress Map and Instructions 
  • Booth Numbers (will need to be returned at end of the festival) 
  • Day of Event Contact Information 

Setting Up:

Setup can only start after the City of Franklin has closed AND cleared the streets. Anyone who sets up earlier than the times listed above may receive a ticket.  

Unloading: 

When setting up, pull right up to your space to unload, finish as quickly as possible, park, and then return to set up.  There are so many vendors participating – this policy is out of consideration for all those involved. 

Finding your Spot: 

Vendor booth numbers will be written on a piece of white tape on the curb.  Look down into the street and find the green tape marks that indicate the edges of your space.  Set up in front of the booth number between the dots and place the booth sign received at check-in on the tent.  This allows the emergency personnel to quickly find everyone in the event there is an emergency.  Bring duck tape or safety pins to attach.  

Packing Up:

Vendors have two hours to pack up and clear out after the festival closes.  Pack up completely before pulling a vehicle up to load up.  There will be about 200 people trying to clear out at the same time; so keeping the streets as clear as possible will be necessary.  

Egress Map: 

The City of Franklin has almost completed the reworking of the official egress map. We will be relaying that map along with instructions as soon as that is completed.  

Booth Sitters:

Vendors attending by themselves will have access to volunteer booth sitters available.

Sales Tax:

The state will not provide special event envelopes this year.  The vendors which have sales & use tax numbers can pay their taxes for the event through their regular filing period, i.e., monthly, quarterly, or yearly.  Vendors who do not have tax numbers may download a use tax form from www.tn.gov/revenue to use for filing payments.  

Sidewalks & Storage:

Vendors are not allowed to store overflow boxes/products on the sidewalks.  Stores are open for business; so please keep the sidewalks clear for pedestrians.    

Parking: 

Due to increased traffic and new construction that has happened around Downtown Franklin, vendors will not have a dedicated lot. Everyone is encouraged to look for parking along Bicentennial Park or utilize the shuttle program after setup is complete.

Shuttles:

Harlinsdale Farm 

  • Drops at 1st and Main Street 
  • $1 each way  
  • Last shuttle leaves last 15 minutes of the festival  

Church of the City  

  • Drops off at 3rd and Church   
  • $1 each way  

Increase Your Storefront Visibility – 

  1. Whether you have a booth in the festival or not, consider decorating your storefront with attractive signage, balloons, etc., along the lines of the festival theme, to draw attention to the fact that you are open and a part of the festivities!
  2. Consider rolling out a red carpet or some colored carpet along the lines of the festival theme to direct traffic to your storefront, encouraging them to visit you inside your store.
  3. Consider your signage options by referring to the temporary signage handbook from the City of Franklin HERE.

Participate in the DFA Members Activation – 

  1. Whether you have a booth at the festival or not, consider joining the DFA members activation (e.g., Trick or Treat Trail) to put your store on the festival visitor's map and be promoted on social media as one of the businesses participating! Email hhood@williamsonheritage.org to discover how to get involved.

If You Have a Booth –

  1. Consider having your customers make their purchases inside your store to give them more opportunities to get to know your brand and perhaps make additional purchases.
  2. Consider providing an interactive element of some kind at your booth.
  3. Consider pulling the tables/displays to the front edges, and consider investing in a white-top canopy or electrical lighting to brighten your space and better show off your merchandise.
  4. Consider clearly displaying your prices. Many people do not enjoy asking for prices and are more likely to buy when they see prices clearly displayed.
  5. Consider encouraging touch!  Post small signs like “the softest lace you’ll ever feel” or “touch me I’m hand-felted wool” or “glazed ceramic, cool to the touch.” Or, invite verbally: if potential customers stop right outside your booth and look, invite them in with a smile and ask, “Would you like to smell my soaps?” Nine times out of ten they will be drawn in.
  6. Consider adding levels. People like to buy things that are at eye level, so display your products at eye level. Hang your art up, hang your jewelry on rods, hang your scarves and clothes up. Set up shelves, stack boxes on your table, or lift your tables on risers.  Stacking shelves also expands space to display more things and helps you attract more customers from farther away.

Arts & Crafts Vendors

Food & Drink Vendors

Live Entertainers

Community Partners