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Rules and Regulation

Vendor Festival Rules and Regulations
Please take a few moments to read the rules below and return the appropriate paperwork by the designated deadlines.  This is a two-day event and vendors must participate in the full two days of the Festival. If you do not have enough supply for both days, do not agree to participate. The Festival hours for the general public are Saturday, from 10am to 4pm and Sunday, from 10am to 3pm.Members of the Garden are allowed entrance to the event each day at 9:30. The following rules supersede all previous rules, agreements or other “understandings” of past festivals.
Registration fee: There is a registration fee of $60.00, which is the minimum fee.   It is required from each club or vendor who is selling on site.  Checks should be made payable to the University of South Florida.  This fee is deductible from your final payment to the Garden, so it is not an additional cost to you. The fee is $75.00 for those vendors who are not selling on the site and use the Festival for advertisement. There is no charge for non-profit information-only booths. The registration fee is non-refundable but can be transferred to a future event if notification is received in writing 14 days prior to the Festival.

Table Reservations Procedure: If you require tables, the deadline to order is one month before the event with the registration. No exceptions can be made. No separate check is required. Just add the table amount onto the registration fee. Table orders cannot be taken after the deadline. Tables are $6.

Deadline and late fees: The deadline for receiving your registration, fees and rental orders is one month prior to event.  Late registrants will be accommodated in the order received, depending on space availability. Late entrees may not be on the map. Late registrants are required to pay an additional non-deductible $10.00 late fee.  All final Festival payments (percentage of earnings) are due no later than Friday one month after the event.  Please complete and return the Final Payment form with your final payments.   Even if you do not have a final payment, it is important for our records that you complete and return the final payment form!  Payments made after deadline date must include a $25.00 per month late fee. 
Set-up/take-down:  Set-up is scheduled for Friday, the day before the event from 8:30a.m. until 5:00p.m. I encourage early set up! Vendors can start setting up on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday but remember that the Garden closes at 5:00. Please let us know if you are setting up Tuesday or Wednesday so that we can make sure to get your area mowed.  Be considerate and pull your vehicle off of the road to allow traffic to flow. Final set-up is Saturday morning from 7:00am. until 9:00am.   All vehicles must be off the grounds by 9:00am. There will be NO exceptions. Late arrivals will have to tote their items in from the parking lot. Late arrivals will NOT be allowed to deliver their plants through the back gate. We would appreciate it if you make an effort to have your staff with their I.D. cards on the grounds by 9:00am. to help alleviate the front gate hysteria.  Please remember the front gate is opened to members of the Garden at 9:30am. At the end of the day on Saturday, vendors cannot bring their vehicles onto the grounds until 4:15. For the Sunday pack up, vehicles will not be allowed on to the property until their designated time. The first group will not be let in until 3:20 and then groups will be allowed in at 10 minute intervals.  The vendors whose sites are farthest from the front will be allowed in first. Vendors who “cut” are breaking the rules and will not be asked back or their group’s booth area will be moved. I encourage all local vendors to come back on Monday or Tuesday to pick up their merchandise. Clubs & societies will be limited on the number of cars to 3; until after 3:50 when all are allowed in.  
Vendors:  Food vendors are expected to provide a copy of their health inspection certificate to the Garden.  Commercial plant vendors are expected to provide a copy of the Florida Division of Plant Industries Inspection number.  Clubs and societies should contact the FDPI to receive information on being granted a temporary permit.
Taxes and receipts: Each club or vendor is responsible for sales tax.  We cannot advise you on your particular tax status.  Contact the Florida State Department of Revenue with any questions.  You should provide your customers with receipts and retain copies for yourself.  Receipts will be beneficial when filing your taxes and will give Garden personnel a way to check against pilfering.  Hillsborough County sales tax is 7%.
Allocation of space: While we like to think that every spot in the Garden is “prime,” there are factors that make some areas more desirable than others are.  Some vendors may find that their space has been changed but most of the vendors will remain in their usual locations. Spaces are allocated by several factors: seniority, amount of sales, uniqueness of merchandise, the date registration is received and promptness of payments. The Garden reserves the right to change any vendors spot at any time.Maps should be given to you as you enter the Garden on Friday or Saturday for set up. If no one is there, please find Kim. We want to help make your set up as easy as possible. It may be beneficial to come out to the Garden ahead of the event and find out where your organization will be located. Your spot should be labeled with a sign. Do not assume your spot is the same as last year.

Stock: Commercial vendors must restrict their stock to items as agreed upon with Kim Hutton before receiving this information.  We require vendors to stick with their specialty. This is not a Flea Market.  We understand that there may be an overlap, but to maintain a standard that draws customers in, guidelines should be observed by everyone. Clubs or societies that include a wide range of plants with little or no focus, such as the “Green Plant Club” or “Tropical Plant Club”, cannot expect, and will not receive, exclusive rights to any plants. Please bring the items you describe on your registration form and if you are adding something different, make a note about it for me or give me a call to check to see if that will work out. If there is any question about the products, please contact Kim at (813) 974-2363. If a vendor shows up and offers any plants that have not been agreed to beforehand, that product will be removed and the vendor can be asked to leave the event, never to return again. Clubs get priority but cannot claim exclusive rights to any plants, it is at the discretion of the Gardens to decide who can sell what plants.    

Identification cards:  We will provide identification cards to each vendor prior to the Festival.  Each vendor will complete the identification cards with specific names and provide one to each of their staff members who will be working the Festival.  These identification cards must be shown in order to gain entrance to the grounds during non-sale hours. Any staff member without an identification card must wait until the event opens to the general public and must pay the $5.00 admission fee. Extra cards can be issued if requested ahead of time. If you have a problem with your identification cards, please contact us in advance. There will be no badge holders provided by the Garden. If you wish to use your I.D. card as a badge, please bring your own badge holder. We ask that clubs and societies not abuse this procedure by requesting cards for members who are NOT working at the event. These cards cost time and money to produce. Use common sense in ordering your cards PLEASE! This event is how we support the Gardens. The people at the gate cannot hand out I.D. cards.

One-way traffic: Vendor traffic must enter at the front gate and exit at the back gate.  While unloading, pull your vehicle off the trail in front of your space.  Do not block the roadway or another vendor’s space.  Vendors are expected to treat each other with courtesy.  If you have a large truck or trailer, you are encouraged to unload your stock on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  No matter how close your spot is to the back gate, you may not unload or enter through the back gate. If you are not unloading, do not bring your vehicle onto the premises! Park across the street and walk onto the gardens.
No vehicles/trailers may be parked on the Garden grounds. Parking is available across the street. Please use the lot (S.) allocated to vendors & volunteers.

Do not invite other vendors.  If a vendor wishes to participate, please have vendor contact us.  The Garden staff selects vendors who we feel will contribute to the quality of our event. Vendors cannot give “their” spot to others.

Payments:  Non-profit organizations pay 10% of their gross sales to the Botanical Garden and are expected to sell only plants related to their mission.  Commercial vendors pay 20%. Non-profit organizations that provide “information only’ booths pay for their table rentals.  Do not deduct sales tax first; you pay sales tax on your percentage and we pay sales tax on the percentage we receive from your organization.  Vendors who fail to pay their percentage to the Garden will not be allowed to attend future festivals. We have been operating under the honor system since the beginning of the Festivals.  We hope to continue with this procedure. Our events are by invitation only.  We reserve the right to exclude a vendor from future events. Please prepare a list of the plants and their prices brought onto the Garden grounds in case you are asked to verify your stock.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact Kim Hutton, Event Coordinator at (813) 974-2363 or e mail:

No alcoholic beverages allowed at the USF Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Festival.