My friends from Little Farm Fair Trade will not be showing up at RAGBRAI this year, along with several other long time participants.
Little Farm is a tiny collective that provides Fair Trade coffee at a lot of fun events during the course of the year. Like the Rainbow Gathering, Burning Man, and usually, RAGBRAI. They leave a jar out for anybody that wants to drop in a donation, but don't charge for the coffee at any event. It's a hippee cosmic kind of organic experience for them.
No longer. Last year several people were charged for not having a vending permit along the route by various counties. Taking a lesson from last year, the counties along the route this year have apparently decided to set fees for folks “vending” along the route. Anything from $700-$1000 a day.
Little Farm, and several of the others don't really even cover the cost of their gas on these trips, it's just something they do for fun and laughs, kind of a vacation.
Now it will only be the big money folks along the route, not the fun mom & pop eccentrics. Our loss.
UPDATE: Here's RAGBRAI's response; http://ragbrai.com/index.php/2010/07/14/ragbrai-vendors-towns/