Publisher's Note: When I Did the Chandler Ostrich Festival
Vendors and suppliers have made adjustments to their offerings and are working with planners to create true partnerships during these tough timesby Meredith Mcllmoyle | Published in June 2009 From the Publisher | outdoor events | Departments
When I worked on the Chandler Ostrich Festival, I thought that I was a part of something really unique. Well, I was, but I had no idea that ostrich festivals rated low in the spectrum of crazy outdoor events!
Over time, I’ve come to find that there is an outdoor celebration for just about anything you can imagine: Summer Redneck Games, Rayne Frog Festival, National Cornbread Festival, World Beard & Mustache Competition…and those are the tame ones. This wide variety of amusement options speaks volumes to the insatiable thirst our society has for creative fun — not to mention the marketing power of outdoor events.
As expected, the beginning of the 2009 festival, concert and sporting season is showing a decrease in sponsorship revenue and attendance. Though unwelcome, the decreases are proving manageable for most promoters and planners.
A majority of planners tell me they’ve been able to tighten their budgets to prepare for these decreases and are counting on on-site retail purchases to help recover some of that money. I’m happy to report that the general feeling is one of cautious optimism. And as you will read in “Inside Outdoor Events” (pg. 32), vendors and suppliers have made adjustments to their offerings and are working with planners to create true partnerships during these tough times.
Forecasters are saying that more of us are staying closer to home this summer — a positive for outdoor events. We are all still looking for ways to be entertained! Some free events are even seeing a slight increase in attendance. Planners are hoping that the no-charge admissions will free up pocket change for other items at the event. Creativity is key to attracting attendees when competition is high for limited amusement dollars.
So where is all this headed? I’m with the optimists. I think that with our desire for outdoor entertainment, the business models may be tweaked slightly, but the market’s not going away. I think that event pros are creative enough to capitalize on that demand, even in a slow economy. And I think the end result will be even more crazy outdoor events — think Watermelon Thumps and Rattlesnake Round-Ups! …Or maybe that last bit is just wishful thinking!