Ah, the sun shining and the sound of a bottle top being cracked open. What could be more quintessentially summer?
The beautiful weather made for a great Saturday spent at Soda Fest in downtown Mahomet. The event, which used to be held in Homer, is now a product of the Mahomet Area Chamber of Commerce.
Wondering what in the world a Soda Fest is? Well, it’s simple: you purchase tastings of soda in quantities of nine at a time or unlimited tastings with a wristband. You can then go around to the tasting booths and try different sodas from all over the country. The event boasts an impressive 100+ sodas for attendees to taste. There were all of the classics like cola & orange soda as well as small-batch craft sodas with names like Zombie Brain Juice and Kickapoo Joy Juice. It is truly a choose-your-own-adventure type of event - you can be as daring or as classic as you’d like with your soda choices. The event rounds out with other activities like live music, a kids inflatables area, free trackless-train rides, food trucks and more. If you find a soda that you just can’t live without, there is even a tent where you can purchase full bottles to take home.
Campus Ink was proud to have the opportunity to provide the event shirts and volunteer shirts for this year’s Soda Fest. We worked closely with the Mahomet Chamber on the artwork and selection of shirts. Soda Fest is a fun event and we wanted the apparel to mirror that.
In addition to printing shirts for the event, we were also happy to volunteer our time as a tasting booth participant. Jenna our director of corporate and community engagement and Lindsay, who handles our local marketing and community outreach, spent the day opening over 150 bottles of soda and pouring nearly 1,000 samples of soda. For any St. Louis or southern Illinois natives, we had four different flavors of Fit’s Craft Soda. We had all the classics: root beer, orange soda, cream soda and ginger ale. Now if you ask which of those were the best you’ll get a split vote: Jenna preferred the cream soda and Lindsay was team ginger ale.
Although our first priority was to serve soda to the thirsty masses, we also took this opportunity to share a little bit more about Campus Ink and what we do. We handed out 200 branded balloons with our logo on them. It truly is amazing how something so simple like a balloon can give a child so much joy. As fast as we could fill them up, our little minions were off toting our balloons around Soda Fest. It was a magical sight to be seen. We also handed out can huggies, stickers, candy (yeah, more sugar, we know) and phone pockets.
Of course, we also had to bring a little Illini with us to Mahomet. We did a raffle for an Illini gift basket valued at over $250. The basket included a Kofi Cockburn jersey, signed sports cards from Kofi Cockburn, Dee Brown, Alfonso Plummer & Jacob Grandison, four different Illini t-shirts and an Illini Basketball Hoodie. Out of 95 entries, Eric Powell was selected as our lucky winner. We also had a rack filled with Illini t-shirts for sale for just $10 each. As a licensed vendor for the University of Illinois, we wanted use Soda Fest as a chance to bring a micro pop-up shop to Mahomet. Our booth was conveniently located across the street from the autograph signing booth featuring Illinois Basketball player Dain Dainja and Illinois Football player Art Sitkowski. Illini merch and Illini players go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Overall, we had a fantastic day at Soda Fest. It was a great opportunity to engage with the community and create new connections with other businesses. Hopefully the sodas we bought to take home will tide us over until next summer.