Archived Story

Chamber seeking SunFest ideas

Published 10:45am Monday, August 26, 2013

I took part in the Chamber of Commerce’s “debriefing” for the first annual SunFest this week.
And I’m happy to report that almost all the reports were positive.
The main problem with SunFest 2013 was the lack of sun. More to the point, it was the abundance of rain during the first half of the week.
But time and again, as Chamber President Ann Rye asked for comments about different events, we heard positives from people in all walks of Alexander City life: business owners, parents, city officials, even the (tired) chamber employees.
“We had 100 people, even in the rain.”
“Everybody seemed to have a good time.”
“They had an increase in business for the week.”
In other words, SunFest was a great success, even in hindsight.
I think that’s remarkable for a first-time event.
One of the recurring negative comments we heard wasn’t about the events themselves, but that the event timing during the work day made it hard for people to attend. Folks wanted to be there but couldn’t take off work.
Next year, I suspect more events will begin at 5:30 p.m., and some that invite adult participation will be held on the weekend instead of during a weekday.
We discussed holding more events that focus on Lake Martin. Some of the ideas that came up were boat races, events at Wind Creek State Park and triathlons – either the traditional swim-bike-run kind or those that might throw trail running or kayaking in the mix.
We discussed improving the quilting event so that it would result in a locally-made community quilt that could be auctioned to benefit SunFest.
We talked about moving the Glo Run to Saturday night so that it kicks off earlier in the evening for people who come from out of town and so that it doesn’t closely follow block parties. I personally ate a bunch of delicious ribs at the Circle Drive block party, then ran a 5K shortly thereafter. Those are two excellent events that would have been even better if we had allowed for more digestion time in between.
Speaking of block parties, Kim Dunn at the chamber said there were many last-minute requests for block parties and she expects there will be even more next year.
I hope so, because I met neighbors for the first time at ours – which is a great reason to have a block party in the first place. I think it would be a good idea if every neighborhood in town had an annual get-together.
One of the biggest events, the concert, got the most comments. Most of them were very positive.
During our discussion, it was obvious that country-rocker Jo Dee Messina was a very good choice as a headliner act and that it’s going to be hard to find another band that appeals to as many people. But we had many good ideas tossed around.
I report this because SunFest is an evolving community event. We want it to reflect the best of our community and to involve everybody who lives here.
If you have an idea for a new event, or to modify one of the events that was held this summer, I’m sure the Chamber would like to hear it.
SunFest 2014 is just around the corner and plans are already being made.
So speak up now by calling the Chamber at 256-234-3461.
Boone is publisher of The Outlook.