Weather, participation numbers, timing of events: All are factors that will deem an event a success or a “try-again” next year. There are things you can control and things you cannot - best explained by the city planners, Amy Frets, Director of Communications of Whiting, Nikki Lopez, Event Director of Hobart, and Donna Muta, Special Events Coordinator of Hammond, and City Controller Rich Murphy and Kesha Pate, City Marketing Director of Michigan City.
The main thing to do is stay calm and remember the purpose of the event in the first place. When you care about the event and the community, they said, everything falls into place.
Part Three: How to: Stay Positive
Amy of Whiting: The more work you put in, the more rewarding it is and the impact it has on the people who are coming to the event is the main reward. Everything is a learning curve and bad things will happen, but overall, something good comes out of it. For the Back to School event, we had it on a Saturday one year and it wasn’t a “ghost event” but there were not as many people when it was during the week, because it is more of a local event.
I live in Lowell now, but I spent a lot of my time with my grandparents in Whiting. It is ironic that 20 years later I am working in Whiting now, but it is the connection toward the city, the reason why I love what I do.
Nikki of Hobart: With this job, I don’t even pay attention to the bad news, I only work with the positive news. Something is going to go wrong, but you have to be cool and collective. The day of the event is stressful, but for things I cannot control, like the weather… I don’t even think about the weather anymore. I like to think that if I worked in this position for Crown Point, I would go as above and beyond as I do here, but honestly, I don’t think so because this is my hometown. My grandparents, my parents, I graduated from Hobart High School and my kids are going to Hobart schools. I want to do whatever I can to make it a better place.
Donna of Hammond: Sometimes I don’t keep my cool! However, I try, and experience plays a huge role in throwing these events. There is always something we didn’t think about popping up the day of. When we do our event post-critique meetings with our committees, we try and accentuate the positives or totally change and/or eliminate the things we did not like or went wrong that year. I have had this job with the Parks and Recreation for 11 years and I always tell my husband that it is great to have a job that brings joy to people. I think it is a gift to be able to say that about anyone’s job. Hammond has so much to offer the public, inside and outside of our city!
Rich and Kesha of Michigan City: We are in the middle of re-positioning ourselves in the marketplace so everything we do, we are asking ourselves the question, “How do we keep the essence of the city, the history and the identity in tact while we are moving forward?” We wouldn’t be having this conversation seven years ago, because our city was vacant, so everything we do now is moving us forward. That is what keeps everything so positive, interesting, and exciting.
We are focusing on choosing events that will be enjoyed by both visitors and those who have lived here for years and are helping make this city great. A lot of the efforts that got us here were the grassroots efforts created by our citizens and businesses. So, what is difficult is trying to keep our identity, but knowing we must adapt and change with our events.
We find ourselves in the position now that we have to acknowledge these grassroots and all their great work, and figuring out how can we listen to them and help them make their efforts even more powerful.
The final article next week will look ahead in Part Four: How to Construct the Future