Welcome to the Merchant FAQ and Schedule of Events page. We have done our best to answer the most commonly asked questions. Click on the question to show the answer. If you do not see your question below, please feel free to contact the merchant coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org
The schedule of events for merchant setup and breakdown is at the bottom of the page. You will receive a copy in a confirmation email which will be sent a week or so before the event.
Prior to Birka:
Where is this being held?
The Expo Center at the Doubletree Inn & Suites in Manchester NH.
The Merchant will be placed in the Expo Center, which is a vast room of approximately 26,000 square feet. It easily houses ~100 merchants for our 3-day event. The room is arranged into 6-12 table islands with a few smaller rows against the walls.
What happens if I need to cancel?
Please contact the Merchant Coordinator ASAP. If you cancel 7 days in advance or more, you will receive a full refund of all fees. If you cancel within the 7 day window, you will receive a refund only if we are able to fill your space with someone from the waiting list. We cannot guarantee this, but typically we are able to fill spaces until 24 hours before the event.
If it is the morning of the event, we ask that you still contact the Merchant Coordinator since we may have other merchants who can use your booth. Prior to Birka you will be given a cell phone number for the Merchant Coordinator to use just prior to or at the Event.
Is costuming/garb required?
Yes. All merchants must make some attempt at pre-1700s clothing. Please do not wear fairy wings, elf ears, anime wigs, or cosplay. Attendees will be required to follow the same rule.
Are there spaces in the Armory?
No. It is no longer our policy to have any merchants in the Armory. The merchants were consistently unhappy and jockeying for a spot in the Expo Center, with no one “happy” to be there. The Armory itself is extensively used by other groups, and merchants are an unnecessary excess.
Applying to be a Merchant:
I need to fill out the Merchant Application, where can I find it?
The Merchant Application is located at https://forms.gle/xxtXoxRUh6YeRpCr6.
When can I fill out the Merchant Application?
The Application opened on October 3, 2023. You can apply at any time.
How will I know if I filled out the application?
You will see a confirmation message after you hit submit. You will also receive an email if you used a Google hosted email address.
What is Jurying and when will it happen?
For Birka, we use a “jurying” process for accepting merchants. The jury consists of the Merchant Coordinator, their Deputies, the Autocrat, their Deputies and sometimes other invited individuals.
For 2024, the jurying process has already taken place at the end of October.
Why was I put on a Wait List?
Almost every year Birka gets more Merchant requests than we have spaces. Therefore, once the spaces are filled we start a Wait List and use it to fill spaces if they become available due to cancellations.
Please note that every year we have cancellations and we try to get Merchants off the Wait List and into the Expo Center. We will keep in touch with you and keep you posted.
How will I be Notified if I am accepted?
If you submitted an application prior to the end of October, you should have received an email from the Merchant Coordinator on November 18 or 19. This email included information regarding your approved spaces, and asking for more information regarding people you wish to include with your booth. Once we receive that information, we will be able to provide you with an invoice to pay through Paypal or by check.
If you submitted an application after we held our jurying meeting, we will be getting in touch with you as soon as we can.
If you applied and didn’t receive a notification, please contact the Merchant Coordinator.
What is a Primary Merchant and why do they need to Pre-Register?
For each Merchant, we ask that there be one point of contact and for that person to be pre-registered with the event prior to arrival. This Primary Merchant will pay the same pre-reg fee as the regular attendees.
I’m bringing additional people, can I pay for them as part of my Merchant invoice?
Yes. In your notification email, we ask that you complete a form listing the additional people you are bringing. Once we receive this information, we will be including these people in your Merchant invoice, at the same cost as if they pre-registered through the event. It doesn’t matter if it’s people who are working for you or your family.
If you have paid your Merchant invoice but want to add people, please pre-register them through the normal link and let the Merchant Coordinator know so that they can be added to the special Merchants list.
Where do we check in?
The Primary Merchant and any person registered through the Merchant invoice can check in through Merchant Gate at the back of the Expo Center. If someone is not on your Merchant invoice, they will need to wait until the regular Gate opens at 6:00 pm on Friday to check in.
Are our wares secure overnight?
The Expo Center will be locked from 10:30 pm Friday to 7:00 am Saturday and locked again from 9:00 pm Saturday to 8:00 am Sunday. If you have a desperate need to access something left in the Expo Center outside of those hours, please contact the Merchant Coordinator.
Can I sleep in my booth?
No. There is no sleeping space in the Expo Center. It is not rated as a lodging by the Fire Marshal of the City of Manchester or the State of New Hampshire.
I use a WIFI payment system. Will I have access to WIFI in the hotel?
Yes. There is WIFI available in the Expo Center for no additional cost.
I need electricity, is there a plug I can use?
The Hotel will provide electricity to any merchant who wishes to use it for an additional $75.00. You may be able to share electricity with a neighbor, but that is for you and your neighbor to work out.
Can we use the carts and trolleys offered by the hotel?
We are allowed no more than two of the 12 hotel luggage carts in the Expo Center. If we see the hotel luggage carts, one of the Brute Squad will take charge of it and make sure it continues moving and gets used or returned quickly.
Please make every effort to purchase your own hand cart or wagon to move your goods. The hotel is under no obligation to let people use the luggage carts for the Expo Center.
In the event that you are using a hotel luggage cart during breakdown, please do not take a cart until you are completely packed. If we see a cart standing half full while someone painstakingly wraps wares in paper and puts them in boxes, we will take the cart away and put it back in circulation.
Under no circumstances can we use any of the Hotel catering carts, table trolleys, lifters for stacks of chairs, etc. If any of these are found with a Merchant’s wares on them, you will be asked to leave the event. The Hotel is extremely strict on this point, as it violates their insurance for anyone who isn’t Hotel staff to touch moving equipment.
Are there nearby food options?
The Hotel will be selling sandwiches and lunch options outside of the Expo Center on Saturday, they also have a restaurant for breakfast and/or dinner and a 24-snack shop.
If you want to go out, there are many restaurants within walking distance of the Hotel. You can also order online or by phone and have food delivered. The Hotel asks that you be present in the lobby when food arrives for you.
You can bring food and drink from home if you are bringing it for yourself and your immediate group ONLY. Please do not offer it openly to customers or make a large presentation of giving away food.
Can I get a room in the main hotel?
Sadly, the hotel has a limited number of rooms in the block for Birka, and these are usually sold out months before the event. We will be contacting all merchants early in the day that the room block opens, but we cannot hold any rooms for Merchants.
However, there are hotels in the area which are eager for overflow business, and many run shuttles or have special deals. Please be sure to mention you’re with Birka. See the Hotel Information page for additional information.
Birka Merchant Schedule 2024:
Merchants can and must be open as follows:
Friday: Merchants are welcome to be open for sales, but it is not mandatory. If you arrive later, you are welcome to sell as you are setting up or you can skip Friday evening and set up Saturday morning.
Saturday: Merchants MUST be open for sales from 9am to 6pm. After 6 you are welcome to start breaking down if you wish.
Sunday: Merchants are welcome to be open for sales, but it is not mandatory. You are welcome to sell as you are breaking down if you wish.
10:00 am: The Merchant Coordinator and Brute Squad arrive to set up the Expo Center. Volunteers are welcome.
3:00 pm: Merchants are authorized to begin setup. (If setup is complete prior to 3:00 pm, the doors may open earlier. The Merchant Coordinator will decide when this happens.)
6:00 pm: Expo Center opens for sales.
10:00 pm: Expo Center closes to the public.
10:30 pm: Expo Center is locked for the night. Anyone still lingering at 10:30 will be asked to leave. The Merchant Coordinator and staff need sleep.
7:00 am: Expo Center is unlocked. You can begin or continue setup, or you are welcome to sleep in.
9:00 am: Expo Center opens to sales.
6:00 pm: Expo Center closes to the public.
Merchants who do not intend to stay for Sunday may pack out at this time.
9:00 pm: Expo Center is locked for the night.
8:00 am: Expo Center is unlocked. You can begin or continue breakdown, or you are welcome to sleep in.
9:00 am: Expo Center opens to sales.
3:00 pm: Expo Center closes to the public.
6:00 pm: Expo Center must be cleared and empty.
Note: All merchants must be out of the Expo Center by 5:30pm on Sunday. Anyone lingering at that time will be picked up and moved to the hallway. We must sweep and finish the hall before we leave and the Event Staff wants to go home.