Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Community Involvement… (Part One)

A Number of years ago I wrote a Blog about community based events. The Blog was appropriate then and it is still appropriate now. I am re-posting this Blog now in two parts.

Most festivals and events are community based. As such, they give whole communities the chance to come together and show off their town to visitors.

Festivals and events not only make residents proud, they are just good business! Think of the economic impact. Festival visitors eat in community restaurants, stay in community accommodations, enjoy community attractions and purchase goods in community retail stores. If visitors like the festival community they come back and bring their friends and the cycle begins again. And, if they really like the community, they may come back to live there. Community supported festivals and events have the domino effect, so how does an organizing committee ensure maximum community involvement and, thus the benefits of that involvement?

Here are a few thoughts based on 5 Ontario community based festivals ~

International Plowing Match 2016 (Huron County-Walton)
This was a one-time event that pulled together a number of communities and groups into one cohesive unit. Although there were no large towns close by, the IPM organizing committee was able to attract volunteers and financial support from all the communities in Leeds-Grenville! It was a Herculean task that took over 3 years to achieve, but the end result was nothing short of spectacular! All the communities involved were enriched by the experience.

Winona Peach Festival

The food section of this festival is almost completely manned and operated by various community groups, church committees, sports associations and service clubs. The food that they serve and the presentation of their respective booths far surpasses most commercial food served at other events, and, the beauty of this community involvement is that the money stays in the community to help the community!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Things That Make You Ask WHY… (Part Two)

The next day, bright and early, we arrived at the show. This is when the next series of “ask Why” started. It began when we were about to order ordered food. Two bottles of pop were going to cost us about $9.00 and a hamburger the same. Why do the food prices need to be so high? Is it because the food vendors have a captive audience and can charge as much as they like because people need to eat and are willing pay the high prices or, is because the facility owner charges the food vendors so much that they have to charge that much to make a decent profit. Perhaps it’s a combination of both. Whatever the answer it still makes you “ask WHY”. The most shocking “WHY” came when I tried to access the Internet! I just wanted to check my e-mails and do some work on my website during downtimes in the show. When I tried to log on, I got a message giving me to phone to arrange access. Instead of phoning, I walked to the facility office in the complex to arrange for access. I asked the girl in the office what I needed to do. She told me that there was a charge for access. I asked “how much” and she told me “750”. I said naively “$7.50”. She said “No sir that would be $750.00”. I could not believe what I had just so I asked her to repeat what she had said. The girl, a little embarrassed now, repeated the amount “$750.00”. I asked her “how they could justify such a price”. She shrugged her shoulders and said “I am sorry sir but that is the cost”. That was the end of our conversation. Needless to say I didn’t purchase access. So this brings me to my final “ask WHY”. How can they possibly justify charging this much? High speed wireless can be purchased for one year for less than half that price. I can understand charging that amount or more to a large corporation who needs a complicated installation, but all they needed to do for me, and others like me, is give me access through a username and password. Hotels do this for their customers all the time and don’t charge for it. Ultimately, it just makes you ask why!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Things That Make You Ask WHY… (Part One)

We had the opportunity to be an exhibitor at a large consumer show in Toronto, so I decided to check out the pricing. I was surprised how reasonably priced the booth was. Several years ago Judi and I had exhibited at the same show and the booth prices were almost the same. I also checked out the other costs associated with have a booth at the show. Such cost as installing electricity, renting furniture and obtaining a parking pass. The cost of the electricity was comparable to what we had paid before. The parking was comparable and this time we could park indoors. We had never rented furniture before, so I had nothing to compare prices with, but the show package seemed reasonable. With the pricing confirmed, we decided to go ahead with having a booth.

On set up day Gary packed the car and came to Toronto with my 14 year old nephew. I wasn’t feeling well so I asked my nephew to help with set up. When we got to the show, the security guard stopped us and asked my nephew how old he was. When he found out my nephew was only, he told us he had to be 16 to be allowed in. This was the first thing that made me “ask WHY”. The guard told us that it was the city’s rule and it was because there were “tow” operators in the building. I can understand now allowing little kids in the building, but a 14 year old is not a little kid (my nephew is almost taller than me and likely smarter). It seems to me that the government is using a cannon to kill a fly! Eventually we were allowed in and we set up the booth. 
(To Be Continued)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Festivals within Attractions…

A few years we visited a festival that was held within a large well known attraction. The attraction, itself was great, but the festival it was trying hold, fell well short of expectations.
Gary and I thought, given the prestige and type of attraction, that the festival would be fun and interesting. Unfortunately it was far from it. After entering the attractions grounds, we started to look to see where the festival portion was being held. As we passed through the gates, there was a large festival sign greeting us. However, there were no directional signs to tell us which way to go. After looking around for a short time, we asked a passing by volunteer where the festival was being held. He pointed to a foot path and said “just follow the path and you will come to it”. What he failed to point out was that there were several paths that split off from the path he pointed to. After several attempts to find the festival area, we came across it by chance. We had passed it once before, but there were no signs and the “festival” grounds were very small, with little apparent activity. It was no wonder that we had missed it the first time past. The “festival” volunteers were trying hard to make the most of the event, but there were too few activities to make it interesting. While we were there, very few people came to the site. I believe that if an attraction is going to hold a festival or event within its grounds, it should put its best “foot” forward. Unfortunately, that is not what happened here.

Festivals and events will bring people to an attraction. If the event is interesting and well run they will come back and bring their friends. However, the converse is true. If the festival or event is uninteresting and poorly run, people will stop coming to the attraction and will tell their friends about their experience. If an attraction is going to hold separate events, they must treat them as a “total attraction experience” not just as an “afterthought”!