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Feature Article - September 2017

The Fundamentals of Fun

Events & Festivals Bring Attention & Business to Communities

By Deborah L. Vence


The Community

Events and festivals are a great way to foster community spirit.

"For family fun and entertainment, you not only serve those within your locale, but also create a draw to visitors from outside your immediate area," Petroff said. "It's a way to promote hometown businesses. And it demonstrates a sense of appreciation for those who live and work within the community. Ultimately, it serves as a fundraiser, generating dollars that go back into the local area."

And, "the more attractions you can offer that are of interest to the widest possible range of ages and personality types, the more satisfied attendees will be in the end," Carlson said.

At an events and festivals convention this year, Schmader gave a speech, "Festivals & Events: The 'Core of Community," and stated, "In a constantly changing, complex and often frightening world, there is a real need for consistent, trusted, safe and positive outlets that bring us all together; outlets that are an essential part of building and ensuring common community visions and quality of life. That celebrate who we are when we are at our best. That serves as our community 'calling cards.'"

He went on to say that, "Those in our industry and those we partner with often talk about the economic impact of our events and organizations to the communities that we serve—a topic that has come up more often in the last decade as city, county, state, provincial, territorial and national governments look to justify their continued support (in cash and/or services) of those events."

Delage added that festivals can gather a community together, and offer synergy and pride. They also can "Promote local companies, [give a] strong sense of belonging and togetherness, charity, fundraising, visibility and income for local businesses (restaurants, hotels, etc.)."

Make It Memorable

To make your event or festival unforgettable, Petroff suggested that the ultimate goal should reflect the priorities of the organizations and the community holding the event.

"In general, you want to see attendance numbers up, thorough engagement by attendees and positive fundraising numbers," he said.

"To make it memorable, make it your own. This applies to everything from food to entertainment," Petroff added. "Find signature ways to leave an impression by mixing classic favorites with fresh, new ideas to create a unique experience."

Making an event or festival memorable means "giving back to your residents (community), [having] nonprofit support or an environmental cause," Delage noted.

"The goal is to create an experience (more than just a show)," he added, "and bringing people together."

In his "The Power of Celebration" speech, Schmader said, "Ours is an industry that is built around dreams and imagination; and the people who understand not only the importance of dreaming, but know how to make them come true. We are an industry of 'memory makers.' We are also community builders, storytellers, vision painters, bridge builders and the purveyors of possibility.

"We bring families, friends, communities, countries and peoples together. We help them celebrate the special things in their lives, inspire them to see more, and provide the spark that allows them to light the world around them. That is the gift that our industry brings to the world and that is the legacy that we will leave," he said.