Events are an essential feature of downtown communities, both attracting attendees from outside the community and bringing people together from within the community to celebrate. With most communities canceling events and unsure when they will be able to resume programming in light of the pandemic, WEDC’s downtown development team is offering some ideas for how communities can adapt.
These include a focus on smaller events and virtual events, as well as events that can be planned in a short amount of time—so communities can adopt creative strategies instead of simply going the whole summer without any events.
Think fast: Planning an event in two weeks
Many community events are planned months or even a year in advance, but with so many unknowns amid the pandemic this hasn’t been possible. Now that the prime event season of summer is here, with many communities’ best-loved events canceled, it is still possible to plan events with shorter notice and provide a source of hope, positivity and connection for your community.
It will be important for events to adhere to the new safety guidelines. For example, with retail stores beginning to reopen, a community might hold a shopping event with social distancing guidelines in place.
Events planned on short notice will need to be promoted virtually, rather than with printed materials. Marketing and promotion can even begin in advance of the event date being finalized; announce the event with dates TBD to begin building excitement and anticipation.
Wine walks, an extremely popular event format in recent years, are a great way for people to socialize with friends, visit local retail shops and try unique wines. Especially if a community has held a wine walk previously, it is easy to adapt the event for new health considerations.
For example, the organizer might offer staggered appointments and allow attendees to reserve the time they would like to begin, might only allow a certain number of people into a shop at one time, might dictate the order attendees visit destinations instead of letting attendees choose, and might use only …
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The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is committed to creating and maintaining a business climate that allows you to maximize your potential. Working with more than 600 statewide partners, including regional economic development organizations, academic institutions and industry groups, we’re enhancing our communities, supporting business development, advancing industry innovation, tapping global markets and developing a talented workforce to help Wisconsin realize its full economic potential.