Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Columbia Heights Day

I am working on the Columbia Heights Day planning committee, which has been taking up a decent amount of time in the last month or so. At least it's a good an excuse as any to blame for my utter lack of posting lately. So in the absence of a thought-provoking or entertaining post (that requires 10 minutes that I don't have to think) I thought I would plug it here in this time of no posting.

This is the 2nd year of the event, which is this coming Saturday, October 4. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. About a dozen volunteers have been working tirelessly since April on planning the event. Well, a couple in particular (Allison, Serge) have been working tirelessly. The rest of us have been doing what we can in our spare time and making lots of bad jokes to keep the tireless workers entertained or annoyed at the meetings.

Anyway - the web site, which is out of date because I've been away for a few days and am still catching up on work, will give you some info. There's a full day of live music, a petting zoo with a zebra and other exotic animals that you can't normally see except from afar at the zoo, a second stage with performance art and other cool stuff, and tables from all sorts of local artisans and businesses who will be showing off and peddling their goods and services. There will be food too, and many local restaurants and bars are offering drink specials all day long. Come out and join us! The weather is supposed to be excellent.


Shannon said...

If I show up, will you buy me a beer? And a pony? And a new car?

Jamie said...

Hells yeah. Just call me Oprah. No funny business with the exotic animals.

Shannon said...

And do I get a cookie?

Anonymous said...

I've been dumbstruck by the negative, often personal attacks against a blogger who simply reported that she didn't have a terrific time at the event. I had a good time at the event, but this kind of ugliness isn't a community spirit I want any part of. Since it's coming from some of the organizers of the event, I'm making a point of avoiding next year's event and recommending friends and business partners (at least one of this year's sponsors) do the same.

Simple advice for community organizing:
Don't be a jerk.

Jamie said...

You are free to do whatever you want to sabotage future events (though I can't fathom why you would go to that trouble to hurt what was considered by many to be a wonderful community event), but bear in mind that nobody else is responsible for the words of one of the many, many volunteers who participated in planning this event, except that person. Not a single person was paid to put on this festival, and all the money was raised in fundraisers, from local business, and personal contributions, including substantial ones from the organizing committee.

There were about 12 people active through the whole process who put hundreds of hours over the course of six months to plan this, and dozens of other volunteers who worked on specific events and the day of the festival.

You might consider that someone who's just come off of all that could be a little sensitive upon reading what came across as a critical review... it was "underwhelming" and "diappointing." Yet did not even mention any of the main attractions which we spent so much time putting together. Which makes sense, since she spent a mere 20 minutes at the event.

What I see is the equivalent of someone who basically read three pages from the middle of a book and then said it was disappointing in a public forum. That's fine, it's her right. But you should expect that maybe the author of the book would have something to say about that. Likewise, we have something to learn about how the event may have come across to some from her experience. I am not condoning the tone of the response, but that is the action of an individual, and further one who probably put a lot of energy into doing something positive for the community. But I really don't see the consequent reactions (such as yours) as helping matters either.

Amanda's response to her criticism was perfectly civilized. I appreciated her last response, and I don't see her going on the warpath. Why are you?

Amanda said...

Jamie, glad you can tell that I am definitely trying to avoid any sort of warpath! And thanks for all you and the other volunteers did to put the festival together. It sounds like many people had a wonderful time. One thing that might be helpful next year is a couple of big signs posting a schedule of events, or something along those lines, so people who wander through (or past) know - "oh hey, if I stick around there's a cupcake eating contest" (etc). Or have volunteer greeters at the entrances handing out programs. Also, featuring local artists would really be great, and food from more local eateries. Just a few thoughts. Also - if you or one of the other planners has a sec to drop me a line and tell me more about how city funding for these neighborhood festivals works, I'm curious to learn more - amanda@creativedc.org. Thanks!