If it's your first time running a Pride stall you'll be glad to know it is extremely rewarding! You'll be the face of your community for the day, meeting visitors to your stall, chatting and even potentially networking with other stallholders.
Whether you're running your stall as a few individuals or you're representing an established group you'll no doubt have fun meeting and interacting with bi+ people and their friends and allies.
This guide covers how to sign up to run a stall, as well as offering tips for the run up to your event and the day itself.
Securing your booking
Most Prides operate an online booking system, so head to your chosen events website for a look. If you're lucky you will just have to complete a webform, but if not, search for the contact details and send an email including your group name and description to the most appropriate person listed. Their teams, like ours, are usually made up of volunteers so the quality of information on their site can be patchy. If you can't find details on the website feel free to chase your Pride down on social media.
Once your stall is confirmed is the perfect time to order a free Pride Pack from us. Your Pride Pack contains at a minimum:
- Five or ten posters (if you'll have wall space)
- Sheets of bi and pan flag stickers
- Some flags to decorate your stall
- Leaflets and postcards to give away
- A couple of small treats just for you
You may find your leaflets differ from other packs, depending on what we've got in stock. Email email@example.com to get yours.
You'll want to think in advance about your stall staffing and layout. If your Pride hasn't provided details, ask them for the table size and pitch size so you can work out what you'd like to take along and if there's room for it. Most Prides provide one trestle table and two folding chairs, and a gazebo if your pitch is outdoors.
Planning your stall layout in advance means less stress on the morning of your event and keeping the amount of things you're taking with you at a reasonable level.
Common rules for Pride Stallholders
Every Pride is different, but we've found these are common rules that are enforced for stall holders:
Be prepared to have to be on site at a specific time, before the event opens. You may also be prevented from leaving early.
Some Prides do not permit wrapped sweets as giveaways due to littering concerns. The same may apply to stickers.
Check with the organisers if you intend on selling merchandise, there may be additional rules. You also may or may not be allowed to solicit donations.
Your stall should be staffed all day, so it's a good idea to double-up on volunteers.
Some Prides require individual stallholders to be insured and provide proof. The majority do not.
You will need to apply for your stall, the earlier the better. Head to your intended Pride’s website, and make sure you read the application form and related documents carefully.
The range of fees attached to securing a stall for your local Pride can be baffling. There may be different rules depending on your charitable status, if you plan on selling merchandise, and where within the event your stall is pitched.
Many Prides offer free stalls to small community groups, but this is far from guaranteed. If you're particularly short on funds, don't be afraid to speak to the organisers to see if an arrangement can be made (don't forget, you're likely to be the only bi+ stall they have, which is useful to leverage - they want to look inclusive after all).
Pitch fees are wildly variable, with £50 being a common starting point, ranging up to several hundreds if you want to sell merchandise.
Costs can spiral if you don't keep an eye on them. Transport to & from the venue and keeping yourself & your volunteers fed and watered are a necessity but do you really need to spend £17.99 on that stretchy table cover? Even though it's the perfect colour? An old bed sheet and a £4.99 pack of fabric die achieves the same effect on a budget.
If you do have a small budget, it's the perfect opportunity to buy or make a reusable banner with your group's name or mission statement. Keep it under 6ft long, and make sure it's got metal grommets or another anchor point so you can secure it to your table or gazebo.
Attracting people to your stall
We've provided a few ways to decorate your stall, but that's only the beginning! A Google image search for Pride stalls will give you a great idea of what other people are doing, so stick to your budget and have fun with it.
If your group has a banner proclaiming its name, maybe left over from another event, now's the time to repurpose it.
Balloons (in bi/pan colours?) add visual interest to your stall and tell people who you are from afar. Bunting is a commonly used stall decoration, which can be made cheaply by cutting out triangles from bed sheets, pinning along a length of bias binding and ironing closed to secure. You do not need to be able to sew (email us for fuller instructions).
Many people like to give out sweets, but check the rules to make sure you're allowed.
If you're using the hand flags we've provided to decorate your stall, a disposable cup weighted with blu-tac is enough to keep them from blowing off your outdoor stall.
Managing your energy and time
At a bare minimum, you will need two people to staff your stall all day, so one of you can nip to the loo or grab a bite while the stall remains covered. Ideally though, you'll have a handful of volunteers who can take shifts throughout the day.
At the beginning and end of the day, when you're setting up and tearing down, tasks are more physical and hands-on, whereas middle of the day shifts involve more talking and engaging with strangers, and these can be done sitting down.
The task of running a Pride stall is not limited to the day itself. There's a small bit of admin involved - you might want to make a plan of your volunteer shifts for example - but it shouldn't take you too long.
When you arrive
You may have a mandated arrival time. If not, give yourself plenty of time to set up, get yourself acquainted with the site and fuss over your stall decorations. Find out where the nearest toilet is - people will ask you for directions. Sixty to ninety minutes is usually enough.
If you're lucky enough to be able to drive to the site, and as far as your pitch, take advantage. If not, be prepared to carry your stall contents a short distance.
You are likely to be given a 6ft trestle table and two folding chairs. If your stall is outdoors you are likely to be given a gazebo to mark your pitch. Having to provide these items yourself, especially if you're without a car or living with a disability, can be too much.
Getting by on the fly
Things can go wrong. Your carefully crafted volunteer timetable may fall apart in the first hour. You may run out of stickers, or someone might ask a question you don't know an answer to. It will probably rain.
Get your zen on and keep breathing. No one knows but you, and it's not the end of the world. Think of it as practice for next time!
It's a disappointing and unfortunate truth that you may face biphobia. Remember that you are within your rights to ask anyone bothering you to move away from your stall. If your Pride has security, and most larger ones will, make a mental note of where they're positioned should you need them.
Useful bits to take along
- Something to secure your banner - cable ties, rope etc
- Water and snacks
- Binliners for the rubbish you will somehow amass
- (Optional) an extra folding chair
- A charged phone and (optional) additional charger or battery pack
- A map of the site if one is available
- Your Pride Pack from Biscuit