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"!

Friday, May 27, 2022

Developing An Auction Dinner (Introduction)

 I have had the privilege of attending and working with thousands of auction dinners throughout North America. Some had several thousand attendees, while others only had fifty or so. I’ve seen everything from luxury automobiles to original works of art to elegant jewelry to a talking fish, auctioned off. The enthusiasm for the talking fish was unbelievable. Some halls were decorated exquisitely others had no decorations at all. Some were organized with military efficiency, while others seemed to have no organization at all.

I guess what I am trying to convey is that Auction Dinners come in all shapes and sizes. The only things they really have in common are the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who spend their precious time to help organize these events.

The articles that follow are dedicated to all those volunteers, past, present and future, who mean so much to their communities and organizations.

The articles are meant to give an overview of how successful auction dinners are conceived, planned and managed.

For anyone who wants a complete "Developing An Auction Dinner" package, complete with working manuals, workbooks, forms and PowerPoint presentations, visit my Festival and Event Planning website.

(To be Continued)

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.

Preliminary Planning – Theme

Is the theme of your event suitable for your group and your community? To hold a successful event, it is important to hold an event that represents the character of both your group and community. For example, if you are holding a “waterfront event”, you should to be near water. Or, if you are holding a teen event, it should have input from teenagers. Find something within your group or community that has a connection, something that everyone can identify with and then plan the event on that foundation. By doing this, you will find it easier to gain the support of all participants (committee members, friends, community and patrons).

Preliminary Planning – Duration

How long will your event be…both in terms of planning the event and holding the event? Longer events need more time to plan, more manpower, more participants and likely more money. Chances of greater success or failure grow in relationship to the size and length of the event. Before you decide, weigh all the pros and cons before totally committing. If you do decide to choose a longer event, make sure everyone understands what it will take to ensure success. The development of a critical path and manpower chart would be prudent at this point.

Note: This concludes the "Research and Preliminary Planning" portion of my Event Development Series. The "Leadership" portion will follow in the months to come.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.

 

Preliminary Planning – Venue

Have you adequately thought about where you are holding your event? Choosing the right location is very important. You should create a check list of the elements needed. Such requirements as:

·         Is the size of the facility large enough/too large?

·         Are there food preparation facilities?

·         Can they provide the food?

·         Can they serve the food?

·         How are the acoustics?

·         Is there enough parking?

·         Can you hang up signs (if necessary)?

·         Can liquor be served?

These are just a few of the questions that might need answered. Talk it over with your group and make as complete a list as possible and, don’t be afraid to go back if further question arises

Preliminary Planning – Timing

How is the timing of your event? Choosing the right time is also very important. You should create a check list of potential conflicts. Such as:

·         Is there a conflicting event (other organization, sporting event, school event, election) that might limit the number of people attending your?

·         Is there enough manpower available at the time of your event?

·         Will weather (snow or lack of it) likely affect your event?

·         Is there a conflicting holiday?

Again, these are just some of the questions that need answered. Talk it over with your group and make as complete a list as possible. Once you have considered all possibilities, choose the time with minimum chance of conflict.

(To be continued)

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.

 

Preliminary Planning – Target Audience

You must know who your primary audience is! Obviously, this is one of your most important considerations. Here is a list of some of the questions that need to be asked and answered:

1.    Who are you targeting - families, adults, seniors, juveniles, youths, children, males, females, etc.? It is very important for you to accurately define your target audience.

2.    Where will your target audience come from? Are they local, from specific groups, such as senior's home? Are they from within your geographical area or outside it? if outside, how will you attract them to your event?

3.    How much will your target audience be willing to pay to attend your event?

4.    Does your audience have special needs or interests?

5.    Will they really be interested in what you are planning on offering the?

Once you have answered these questions and more, you can really start your final plan!
(To be continued)

Friday, April 29, 2022

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.

Preliminary Planning – Manpower

Whatever your event, you must make sure that you have enough "manpower" available to help. This includes both the "planning and development" stages and the "implementation and operational" stages. Each group must be committed to being on time and ready to work! Nothing causes committees and their chairs more grief than no enough workers or than people who commit and then don't live up to their commitment! It's so simple, either show up and work or replace yourself with someone who will! If, as a committee leader, you don't want to lose committee members or have them not fully participate, make sure you operate your committee and its meetings on a business-like basis. This includes starting your meetings on time, having a prepared agenda and following it, having a scribe take minute notes and then sending the minutes out before the next meeting and finally, following up, as promised. All commitments must be honoured by the committee chairs if she/he wants the respect of the committee members. Remember, it never hurts to have a committee to be over staffed. This is especially true for the implementation and operational stages! If you find that your group can't handle the whole event, look outside your group (friends, relatives, partnerships with other groups, contracted services, etc,). Once your manpower is in place the "sky's the limit"!

(To be continued)

Friday, April 22, 2022

Event Development (continued)

The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.

 

Preliminary Planning – Required Elements (Continued)

This could be the next step in your event development or it could be your last step! I have placed this section here because I believe that you need all the "Required Elements" in place before you make your final plans.

3.    Are There Enough of the Right Kind of Vendors and Attractions Available for Your Event?
Most festivals and events have either outside vendors or attractions to bring visitors to their event. When I say "the right kind", I mean vendors and attractions that both reflect the theme of the event and the type of people they are trying to attract. By offering visitors "less" then they expect can be a big detriment to the event's success and eventual longevity!

4.    Will Your Local Government Co-operate or Event Contribute to Your Event?
This is likely the most important "element" to get right. Without the co-operation (and hopefully contribution - money ~ manpower ~ facilities) of your local government, your event is in trouble right from the start! You may think that you don't need their co-operation, but you are wrong! Your local government can help you in so many ways. Most importantly, though, is that they can tell you what you need to do to comply with all the regulations that are now in place to protect the public. It is definitely in your best interests to follow their guidelines and to form work a close working relationship with community staff.

 Once you have all these "Right Elements" in place, final planning can begin.

(To be continued) 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.

Preliminary Planning – Required Elements (Continued)

This could be the next step in your event development or it could be your last step! I have placed this section here because I believe that you need all the "Required Elements" in place before you make your final plans.

2.  Will Local Businesses Contribute to Your Events Financial Success?
I don't know many events that are self supporting, but I don't think that there are many. I also don't know of many events that don't cost something. That being said, you will need to find outside funds from some source. Ticket sales and booth fees may cover a lot of the costs, but in most cases festivals and events need more. If this is the case, you'll need to consider the solicitation of your local businesses. The big questions is, "Will they help?". I think this question can best be answered by how you approach them. First of all you have to consider will your approach be for a donation or a sponsorship. There is a huge difference between the two. Donations are simply a request for help with no offer of return on investment. It is a straight out gift. Sponsorships, on the other hand, are based on a business transaction. For monies given (by the sponsor) goods or services are given (by the event). The goods or services given could include anything from tickets to an event to advertising recognition. Whatever is given, there should be good "value" in what is given. Don't underestimate your need for sufficient funding. Having a little more than needed is a good policy. You never know when the "rain" may fall. Sufficient funding is a key "element" when it comes to event success.  (To be continued)

Friday, April 8, 2022

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.

 

Preliminary Planning – Required Elements

This could be the next step in your event development or it could be your last step! I have placed this section here because I believe that you need all the "Required Elements" in place before you make your final plans.

1. What Community Support is Available?
In order to hold any event, there must be community support. Support not only includes manpower, but it also includes political support, town staff support, business support (especially retail) and community resident support. In previous sections I have outlined these areas in depth, but I can't emphasis enough that you will need all of these support "elements" to hold a successful event. (To be continued)

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

DOWNTOWN BUSINESSES – If your event is going to be held in the downtown area or near it, you will want to consult with the local business group. The merchants will want to have their say. They will be very protective of their business area. If they think your event is going to interfere with their business or their customers, you can expect a fight on your hands. Remember, your event is only there once a year, they are there all year round. As with the residents, it’s best to get them on your side right from the start. Being up front with them and asking for their suggestions will go a long way in bringing them to your side. Make sure them there is something in your plans that will benefit them. Also like the residents, try to get some of the merchants on your committee.

TOWN STAFF – This is a very powerful group. Even though you might have the politicians on your side, the town staff controls the services! If your event is going to be held on a weekend (most are) then it is likely that many of the staff will be asked to work on their time off. If they don’t like your event or think it’s not worthwhile, they may throw up any number of roadblocks to hurt your event, enough that it could cripple your ideas and your event. You need you consult with them from the beginning; show them just how much your event will enhance their town.


OTHER GROUPS – There are any number of other groups that could affect you plans, groups such as churches, service clubs and other self interest groups. Look at the Olympic Torch Run as an example. The Run experienced all types of opposition (poverty groups, aboriginal, etc). They were able to by-pass most of the challenges by thinking and planning ahead. I believe that the key is to think through your event thoroughly and then be positive about what you are trying to accomplish. Most important of all you must be open to others concerns and ideas and then find a way to minimize any and all objections. No matter how good and noble your intensions may be, there will always be someone ready to criticize your plans. Take it in stride and move forward positively.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.

 

Preliminary Planning – Considerations (Continued)

7. Are There Any Groups That Could Adversely Affect Your Event? – Perhaps the most obvious group that could affect your event are your local politicians. If you are not offering something that the majority wants and you hope to use town property or services, you will likely reach a “dead-end” before you begin! Knowing this is a good policy to pass your plans by some of the councilors before you present your formal proposal! There are other groups that need to be considered very carefully, here are a few of them:

RESIDENTS – If you plan on holding your event in a residential area, you must consider the residents. Believe it or not the residents might object to your event! Their objections could range anywhere from noise to traffic to vandalism. Don’t under estimate the power of this group. If they band together, they can become very formable opponents. It’s best to get them on your side right from the start. Find out what their objections are and find out ways to eliminate or minimize the objections. If you can get some of them on your committee or offer free tickets or other incentives that might also help.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.

 

Preliminary Planning – Considerations (Continued)

6. Are There Any Conflicting Events? – This is an important question because the success of your event will likely be defined in terms of the number of visitors to your event and how much they spend! If there is a conflicting event, it could drastically affect your numbers, visitors and revenue. “Conflicting events” don’t necessarily mean conflicting dates or locations. They could also include types of participants and visitors. For example, suppose you are planning on holding a major art show on a particular date, but there is another one being held some distance away. Because they don’t conflict location wise, your might think it’s okay to go ahead with the event. This could be a fatal error in judgment because you might not be able to attract the best artists, artists who would attract visitors. Conflicting art shows would likely split the visitor base and both events might suffer, especially if yours is the newer event. Many groups have associations which help organizers coordinate dates, participants and marketing. If this is the case for your event, contacting the appropriate association may save a lot of grief! The internet is a great way to search for these associations. On the other side of the coin are events that may initially seem to be in conflict with your event. However, they may be complimentary to your event. Research will help determine this. When this happens, cooperation is the name of the game! By cooperating with one another you can play on each others strengths! You might event find that together you can offer a lot more and even draw more people to your event! If you really find that you can work together, you might even be able to reduce your costs in areas such as advertising, transportation, parking and security (etc). Being aware of what is happening around you can work to your advantage in many ways! (To be continued)

Friday, March 11, 2022

Event Development (continued)

The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.

Preliminary Planning – Considerations (Continued)

5. Is This Event In Keeping With Why You Are Holding It? – Why are you holding this event? Is it because you want to promote your community? Is it because you want to promote your organization or cause? Or, is it because your want to raise money, celebrate a special occasion, etc? Whatever your “why” is, it really doesn’t matter as long as it fits with your group or your community. However, once you have set your “why”, it is important that you stay true to it! Too many festivals and events forget why they are holding their event when they start planning the minute details. They lose sight of their original purpose. This can lead to all kinds of challenges, especially if it’s a new event! Both event visitors and volunteers will become confused. They won’t understand why you are holding the event. They will not understand its purpose. Because of this confusion your event will likely start to fall apart! You may get past the first year, but future years will be doubtful! Make sure when you are planning your event that you keep your focus on the “why” and stay true to it! It may be after a few years of holding the event that the “why” will need to be changed. It is always a good policy to review your purpose at the beginning of each year. Confirm or redefine that “purpose” and then start your planning process and then make sure all your “stakeholders” are aware of what your “purpose” is. With this knowledge everyone involved will be able to help you and your committee reach your goals and objectives. (To be continued) 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Top Ten Festival Challenges (Part Two)

 Over the years, I have visited about 250 Ontario festivals and events. Although I have found them have been interesting and enjoyable to visit, I have also seen many challenges.  In this article I will describe 5 of the Top Ten Challenges I have experienced.

10. THEME – In order to attract visitors to their event, most festivals develop a “theme”. The “theme” dictates how the event is organized, what attractions are offered and how it is promoted. It identifies the uniqueness of the event. That is why it is important to choose the theme carefully, making sure that it makes sense for you and your community. You likely would not want to hold a “rock concert” in a retirement community! Once a “theme” has been set, every effort should be made to keep to the spirit of the theme. This includes activities, ground set-up and marketing. Having a great theme without enthusiastically promoting it is like having a “birthday cake without candles, all show and no glow”! The Canadian Redneck Games in Minto is a great example using and promoting a theme to its maximum. The amount of press and awards that this event has received is amazing and a true testament to its catchy theme!

Friday, February 25, 2022

Top Ten Festival Challenges (Part Two)

Over the years, I have visited about 250 Ontario festivals and events. Although I have found them have been interesting and enjoyable to visit, I have also seen many challenges.  In this article I will describe 5 of the Top Ten Challenges I have experienced.

9.    FOOD – Food is an important component of most festivals and events. It used to be that “good old fashion” comfort food was totally acceptable, foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, sno-cones and candy floss. While these are still the “norm”, times are changing and many visitors are demanding more nutritious foods. A number of festivals and events have responded to these demands and are offering a greater variety of nutritious meals. Families are not only becoming “health” conscious, but with the economy as it is, they are looking for better food value. Some families have stopped buying food at festival all together, opting to eat at home before going to the event or bring a picnic lunch to eat at the event. Festivals and events that recognize these trends and respond to them will benefit from the changes in the long run. Here are some ideas to think about.

Ø  Try grouping food vendors together and offer a greater variety of “comfort” and “health foods”.

Ø  Provide a “picnic” area for visitors who bring their own food. Make sure you advertise this service on your website and in your advertising.

Ø  Screen food vendors thoroughly, make sure that they meet the food standards that have been set, both in quality of food and food value. It’s your event, so you make the rules!

Ø  Providing a family friendly environment will pay huge dividends.

One of the best events we have visited for food was the Winona Peach Festival. All food vendors are local charities and organizations. The food is home made, nutritious and delicious. The vendors are all located in the same food area and there is plenty of variety to choose from. In the centre of the food area is a covered picnic area!

Friday, February 18, 2022

Top Ten Festival Challenges (Part Two)

 Over the years, I have visited about 250 Ontario festivals and events. Although I have found them have been interesting and enjoyable to visit, I have also seen many challenges.  In this article I will describe 5 of the Top Ten Challenges I have experienced.

8. PROGRAM GUIDES – I like festivals and events that produce a nice informative program guide. To me it shows that it is a well-planned event and that they care about their visitors. I also like informative program guides because they provide me the information, I need to enjoy the event. I don’t believe that guides need to be overly ornate to serve its purpose. Like websites, content is “king”! Here are some of the components that I think are necessary to make a guide effective.

Ø  A site map should be included showing the location of all events and activities and all important facilities, washrooms, information booth(s), first aid station(s), ATM’s, disabled parking, shuttle bus stops and designated food areas.

Ø  Activities and descriptions should be included along with times.

Ø  Contact information should be given with telephone numbers that can be used during the event

Ø  Finally, a list of event sponsors

I am sure that more could be added, but this a start. If cost is prohibiting an event from producing a program guide, festival organizers should contact the local newspaper to see if they would be interested in publishing the guide. If you give them the advertising rights, they will likely produce the guide for free and in some cases they may even pay for those advertising rights. Another inexpensive way of producing a program guide is to make it part of your website. If you go this route, make sure that the program is not too long, that it is in the “PDF” format and that it can be printed in “black and white”. One of the best festival program guides I have seen is produced for the Cobourg Waterfront Festival by one of the local newspapers. The newspaper pays, through sponsorship, for the right to publish the guide.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Top Ten Festival Challenges (Part Two)

 Over the years, I have visited about 250 Ontario festivals and events. Although I have found them have been interesting and enjoyable to visit, I have also seen many challenges.  In this article I will describe 5 of the Top Ten Challenges I have experienced. 

7. WEATHER PLAN – No-one can control the weather, but an effective “weather plan” can, at least, minimize the affects. Even “indoor” events can be affected by poor weather (snow, freezing rain, hurricanes, etc)! Making alternative weather plans helps in two ways. Firstly, it tells your volunteers what will happen in case of disastrous weather, a plan to follow. And, secondly it tells your potential visitors what you plan to do if the weather turns bad. One of the most important aspects of any weather plan is communications, both to your volunteers and to your visitors. If an event is going to be cancelled or postponed, you have to let people know. “Letting people know” can easily be accomplished through your website. First by publishing your weather policy and then by providing a contact telephone number should a cancellation or postponement take place. A “Postponement or cancellation notice” could also be placed on your website. When serious thunder storms threatened the opening night outdoor play of the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, they had an alternative plan and location in place. Even though the weather looked fine when they made the decision, experience told them not to take a chance on the weather forecasts for the area. They made the decision in plenty of time and then let festival visitors know of the location change.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Top Ten Festival Challenges (Part Two)

 Over the years, I have visited about 250 Ontario festivals and events. Although I have found them have been interesting and enjoyable to visit, I have also seen many challenges.  In this article I will describe 5 of the Top Ten Challenges I have experienced.

6. FACILITIES – One of the greatest challenges festival organizers faces is designing the layout of their festival grounds and building. Basically, the festival is “stuck” with what is there! This might be okay, but it might also be disastrous, especially if the grounds and buildings are in poor shape. This is where careful initial planning comes into play! First impressions (curb-side appeal) can mean the difference between success and failure. Even really bad grounds and buildings can be made acceptable with a little imagination. Old and poorly maintained buildings can be brought to life with colour and decorative displays. Oddly shaped grounds can be made useful by careful placement of events and activities. One of the best uses of grounds was by the Mississauga Waterfront Festival. This festival takes place in Port Credit’s rambling Memorial Park. By carefully placing activities and events, they created a natural “flow” that allowed festival visitors to take in the entire event. Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair uses the Exhibition buildings very effectively. The fair takes place in both new and old buildings. By careful planning of events, organizers have made, what could have been a maze, an exciting journey of discovery!

Friday, January 28, 2022

Top Ten Festival Challenges (Part One)

 Over the years, we have visited over 200 Ontario festivals and events. Although I have found them have been interesting and enjoyable to visit, I have also seen many challenges.  In this article I will describe 5 of the Top Ten Challenges I have experienced.

5. PARKING – If you have ever visited a festival or event that has impossible parking, you will know just how frustrating a situation that can be! I can remember driving to Toronto to attend an event only to find that there were zero parking available and no alternative shuttle parking sites. I turned around and went home, vowing never to return! I was only one person, but many others did the same as me? Obviously on-site parking is preferable where possible, but if it’s not possible or there are too few parking spaces, off-site parking should be a must. This includes providing a “shuttle service” where the distance is too far to walk. Organizers should take into consideration the disabled and elderly when determining their parking needs. Special parking spots or handicapped shuttle should be considered. Several of the events that we have visited have used off-duty school bused for their shuttle service. Some have even added advertising to the buses to offset costs. Many it easy to reach your event just makes good business sense! The Rockton World’s Fair has one of the best on-site parking facilities. They use a field that is just adjacent to the fair grounds. Kempenfest in Barrie uses several off-site parking areas. Their shuttle buses are frequent and convenient.

(Part Two Next)

Friday, January 21, 2022

Top Ten Festival Challenges (Part One)

 Over the years, we have visited over 200 Ontario festivals and events. Although I have found them have been interesting and enjoyable to visit, I have also seen many challenges.  In this article I will describe 5 of the Top Ten Challenges I have experienced.

4. WASHROOM FACILITIES – Having clean and accessible washroom facilities is an absolute must! I am always surprised when I see an event where organizers have decided to “hide” their facilities! This happens far too often! It is as though they are trying to ignore the fact that everyone needs to use these facilities at some time. If they are worried about the look, they should pay more attention to what facilities they order and who they order them from. Washroom facilities don’t have to look unpleasant. The other concern is keeping them clean and well stocked. This not only includes toilet paper but soap and water as well. It’s not a good enough excuse to say that they were used more often than anticipated! Having event staff check them regularly should be a given. Many of the greatest tourist attractions of the world consider washroom management their number one priority. I believe that festival organizers have a responsibility to provide the best washroom facilities possible! Welland’s IlluminAqua provides convenient portable washrooms beside their new amphitheatre. These facilities are both clean and convenient.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Top Ten Festival Challenges (Part One)

Over the years, we have visited over 200 Ontario festivals and events. Although I have found them have been interesting and enjoyable to visit, I have also seen many challenges.  In this article I will describe 5 of the Top Ten Challenges I have experienced.

 3. COST VERSUS VALUE – With today’s economy, providing great value has become very important! Giving more then what is expected or promised will help attract a lot of event visitors! Having a reasonable “gate fee” has now become a necessary reality. Although having a “free gate” can work in a festivals favour, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee success or visitors! Festival visitors are becoming more and more sophisticated and are expecting and demanding more from the events they visit. To reach maximum potential, organizers have to give careful attention to what they are offering. Organizers should concentrate on quality rather than quantity. One of the best paid admission events that we have visited is the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). The CNE provide wonderful entertainment for the whole family at a very reasonable cost. As for a “free gate” event, you can’t beat the Burlington Sound of Music Festival. This Festival provides several free concerts stages throughout the downtown area.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Top Ten Festival Challenges (Part One)

 Over the years, we have visited over 200 Ontario festivals and events. Although I have found them have been interesting and enjoyable to visit, I have also seen many challenges.  In this article I will describe 5 of the Top Ten Challenges I have experienced.

2. WEBSITES – Websites are becoming an integral part of festival and event marketing. If a website is constructed properly it can attract 100’s of new festival visitors. Conversely a poorly designed website can deter people from visiting an event, so it makes good sense to design and maintain a great website! Here are a few tips.

Ø  Properly designed so that it attracts and is friendly towards the major search engines – Google, Yahoo and Bing (MSN)

Ø  Interesting and informative content that is attractive to website visitors and easy to navigate. The objective should be to engage the visitor so that they will stay and read the event’s message and then, ultimately visit the event.

Ø  Provide sufficient festival/event information including location(s), dates, times, activities, site map and contact information (contact name, e-mail address, mailing address and telephone numbers, especially during the event)

Note: Don’t make your website too fancy! Not everyone knows how to navigate complicated websites. This can be a real turn-off.

One of the best event websites I have visited recently was the one for the Norwood Fall Fair. It was easy to use and contained great event informative information.