From Where I Sit – Tally Up the Wins

In the hazy, crazy days following the big event I coordinated, between trying to re-enter my own life and trying to catch up on some sleep, there have been a few minutes to think.

There really hasn’t been much time to talk to my cohort at the County for a real detailed analysis of the event; that’s still to come. But each of us, in between life going back to what we, laughingly, call normal, is thinking.

Last year, the first year, was almost fairytale-like in how it unfolded. It wasn’t perfect, but it was extraordinary for a first time effort. We studied and incorporated all reasonable, do-able suggestions for improvements. We streamlined internal processes and learned the lessons that only experience can bring.

We made huge strides in how we approached things, got a wee bit more comfortable doing the media shtick, and tried like hell to avoid making the same mistakes twice.

But there is a curious thing that happens. Doing something successfully once creates expectations. Totally understandable because we too had expectations of how things would look in 2014.

Never once did we suspect that a man’s word is worth nothing. We worked like hell to avoid the long lineups for food by bringing in a second concession operator specializing in Ukrainian food. He would be located outside and open longer than the indoor guy who was also catering the dinner Saturday night. He never showed up. To my way of thinking, only a body cast would have been an acceptable excuse. He’s offered none and is avoiding calls. So, for the second year in a row, people had to wait an unacceptable length of time to get the food they desired. The concession offering western food wasn’t what most wanted. We’ve since been told to get a contract signed or charge a hefty non-refundable deposit. Maybe that would offer recourse but it does nothing in the moment of betrayal.

In 2013 people complained there wasn’t enough signage. So we remedied that by ordering several more directional signs. Imagine the kick in the gut when every single one was stolen sometime Saturday night. We all have a suspect in mind but proof is elusive. So, here we are, having to pay for something that was used less than twenty-four hours. Not only is that hard on the budget, but demoralizing as well.

The event was not without its champions, successes, and highlights. And maybe one needs some distance from this thing to assess it accurately. Before we have that talk I intend to create a “Hits and Misses” list. With my personality it’s easy to self-flagellate and see only what could, or should, have been better. It’s also easy to get sucked into the small town drama instead of seeing what the out-of-town visitor enjoyed. It’s time to tally up the wins and remember this is an event in its infancy, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..

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