Friday, September 25, 2009

Do valley events need better planning?

Meeting set for organizers to discuss scheduling


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

The 32nd annual Northern Rockies Folk Festival is a popular two-day summer event in Hailey. Photo by Willy Cook

Many Wood River Valley nonprofit organizations plan their fundraising activities during summer, but summer is short in central Idaho, and grabbing the attention of tourists, second-home owners and valley residents is often difficult. A nationwide recession made event planning even tougher this year.

However, several organizations have discovered that collaborating with others and being considerate of dates helps all involved. The Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau will hold a discussion on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 3-5 p.m. at Ketchum City Hall to discuss coordinated planning of valley events.

"I like to call the period between June 15 and Sept. 15 'lovely chaos,'" said Colleen Daly, executive director of The Community Library in Ketchum.

Daly said the library works hard to coordinate events with others and has found that the best way to do that is to place the event on the chamber's calendar.

"Inevitably, there will be a conflict, but that's OK," Daly said. "As long as it's not too often. "

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One of the biggest summer draws to the area is the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, which occurs mainly in early August. Symphony Executive Director Jennifer Teisinger said that every year, symphony representatives talk with organizers from The Community Library and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts to talk about dates, and also plan around the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley's annual fundraiser.

The Northern Rockies Folk Festival takes place in Hailey the first weekend in August, but does not own that weekend.

"We have no control over it," said festival Director Pete Kramer. "Micky & the Motorcars had an event in Fairfield this year at the same time as the festival, and it drew over 700 people. We are in no position to tell anyone what to do."

The festival's approach to this summer's event was to appeal to a broader audience, which includes younger people, and to offer tickets by the day, instead of just for the whole weekend. Kramer said the festival was successful but this year does not have the money it usually does to roll over to the next.

"Nothing bad can come from talking to one another and exchanging ideas," Kramer said. "All the community events make up the fabric of our valley."

Teisinger said the symphony's biggest challenge is to bring a younger crowd to the performances. In summer, the Elkhorn Concert Series was launched with three concerts by major touring acts.

"We pulled off a first-class event, and we showed people it can be done," said concert organizer Paris Nicholson. "We tried to keep the price down, but there are lots of costs involved with sound and staging, and big-name talent costs money."

Nicholson said the goal was to break even, but that didn't happen.

"We did a good job looking after everyone," Nicholson said. "We also proved a green event is possible. It's unfortunate city officials were not behind it 100 percent. We had to constantly explain it to them what we were doing."

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com

Event planning meeting

The Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau will hold a public meeting to discuss event scheduling on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 3-5 p.m. at Ketchum City Hall. For details, call 725-2105 or e-mail smahoney@visitsunvalley.com.




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