I like summer festivals. I enjoy the sense of community I get when I walk around amidst the music, food and whatever other diversions they offer. I like running into people I haven’t seen in awhile without the burden of entertaining in my home. That’s why I am concerned about the state of the fairs in HoCo.
When I was but a freshly minted college grad back in the late seventies I worked for The Rouse Company marketing retail and office space in Columbia. This job also involved being the developers’ representative on the various committees that hosted the big summer events like the 4th of July celebrations and the once very popular City Fair. The planning for these events went on year round and the payoff came from the satisfaction of seeing the huge turnouts at the lakefront.
This year, when I dropped in on the LakeFest celebration of the Columbia Festival of the Arts I noticed that the crowds had become about half of what they once were. The festival really hadn’t changed that much from previous years and it suddenly occurred to me that may be the problem. I think the festival needs to rethink it’s LakeFest festival.
It’s not that you can’t draw crowds to community events in HoCo. Wine in the Woods, the 4th of July celebration and Ellicott City’s Midnight Madness continue to entice folks to celebrate locally. It’s just that living between two major metropolitan areas means that on any given weekend you have an abundance of choices of where to spend your time.
In other words, it’s a tough audience.
You can read this month’s column here.
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