The “Hooch” is the private space behind a booth. This is where anachronistic items are stored, extra merchandise is kept, and sleeping bags wait for overnight camping. These back rooms have an almost mythic quality, as they are tiny, private bubbles in the middle of the glorious chaos that is a Faire. Legends of quiet encounters, the conceiving of babies, and the partaking of various substances are truer then fiction, and many fond Faire memories include “what happened in the Hooch” during and after business hours. Still, a Hooch has a business function that necessitates that its contents are not viewable by the public and valuable items are safe when you are out front working with your customers. Hooch’s are famously easy to get in and out of, so it is advised that you create a simple plywood box that you can padlock for your more valuable items. The extended family that is a Faire are not here to rob you, but you might as well avoid temptation by not leaving valuables out where they might inadvertently disappear.
A Hooch can consist of simple burlap walls, or be as complex as an entire lock-able building. Some Hoochs are under the counter, some can be a penthouse on the roof of your booth. At the Oregon Country Fair, a contemporary of the Renaissance Faire, but with a more tie-died spin, has booths that one could argue are all about the Hooch, with secondary attention paid to the merchandise being sold below. The OCF is a spectacle that you could argue hasn’t truly been experience if you haven’t watched it go by from an elevated private deck perched on top of someone’s booth with a glass of some beverage in your hand. The Hooch is just another perk awarded to those participating in a Faire, made better when you are the owner and not just a visitor.