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The Back Nine

I want to commend Main Street McDuffie for their efforts in creating Second Saturday for downtown Thomson. We've all heard the same thing before, "there's never anything going on in Thomson." This group is trying to make a difference.

I was out of town last weekend so I was unable to attend but I hear that Mother Nature did not cooperate and things fizzled out rather quickly. That's too bad but it's one of the pitfalls when scheduling outdoor activities.

I have lived in communities throughout the southeast and the most successful of these types of events are generally run by a private company. One such event is a Friday Night Concert series put on by a local promoter. Local bands are hired, tickets sold and there are food vendors. It was held at the marina so you have a nice venue and it was attended by an average of 300 people.

At first they tried to do this weekly from the spring throughout the fall but after the first year they learned during the hot summer months attendance dropped drastically so they scaled back to maybe 6-8 weeks in the spring and then again in the fall. It has been going on now for 15 years with the key to success being it is run by a company and not volunteers.

This is not to say Second Saturday will fail, it's just that events like this take a lot of time and effort to pull it off. Volunteers who come in with a ton of energy will no doubt lose some of this over time. Some sooner rather than later.

Ideas that may seem wonderful within the committee often don't get the fanfare that was expected. You have to figure out what your niche is and then fill it. Find out what will grow at what time during the week when the public will support it. The concert series is one example. They found out the folks were either out on the water or inside an air-conditioned room somewhere during the summer. They did not find this out sitting on their hands, they found out by at least trying.

Main Street McDuffie tried something new last year with the scarecrows that seemed to be very popular. Personally I thought it was just the right thing to do for downtown, I imagined all the travelers getting hit with the wow factor and the pride it showed for our community. My only advice would be to limit it to 3 weeks, two weeks before halloween and one week after. Those 'crows' looked a little tattered after 6 weeks.

So I applaud the Main Street folks for their efforts with Second Saturday and plan to be at the next meeting to see how I can help them along in the process. I encourage you to do the same.

Web posted on Thursday, March 18, 2010

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