Community festivals are a great opportunity to bring people together and encourage everyone to have community pride. Festivals will also attract outside traffic, so you can show off your neighborhood!
Fall is the perfect time to plan a local festival. The weather is cool, the leaves are changing, and families are decorating their homes for the change of weather and the upcoming holiday season. IKO Community Management has some tips and ideas to get your community started:
- Hold your festival between the middle of October or early November. It’s no fun to have a fall festival when it’s hot because no one feels like drinking hot chocolate or warm apple cider. It’s easier to get into the spirit when it feels like the season that you’re celebrating.
- Give your festival an identity. An Oktoberfest vibe is probably inappropriate for a neighborhood, so focus on being more family-friendly. Maybe you want to showcase the talents of your neighbors, or would you like to include outside vendors. Is your town known for a specific landmark or historical figure or food? Use all of this for inspiration!
- Choose your location. A local park, a school track, or farm is your best bet. Depending on the size of your festival, it may extend outside of your community. While you’ll need to check with local authorities to make sure that your event is registered, after you procure the necessary permits, you're good to start party planning.
- Advertise. Facebook is a great starting point, especially for a new festival. If you're planning a festival that's been around for a few years, consider a website or virtual app. Have contact information for vendors to get in touch included in the advertisement.
- Form a committee. Even for a small festival, the job will be too big for one person. Ask for volunteers from your community, school, religious organizations, homeowners association, and more to meet early and often. It’s a good idea to also invite other festival members to come speak with your committee -- just to get you on your feet. The more voices and support you have, the better. However, avoid circling around minor details and not making any progress.
These volunteers can also donate proceeds and resources to the festival. If they'd rather do something else, ask if they'd like to provide security, medical transportation, traffic directors, and other organizational tasks. Rotate them through hour-long shifts, so they can also enjoy the festival.
- Attend other festivals this fall. See what works and what doesn’t. If you see a festival volunteer that doesn’t appear to be busy, ask them some questions about what they like and dislike about the particular festival. Take pictures, notes, and bring a few committee members with you.
Organizing even a small festival is a lot of work, but the event brings all sorts of people together into your community. Attendees will leave with warm, fuzzy feelings about their experience, so don’t become too overwhelmed! After all, at the end of the day, festivals are all about having fun.
Good luck, and happy planning from IKO Community Management.