Are you looking for more entertainment value, revenue, participation?
A visit to the recent Portland (Oregon) Rose Festival General Electric/SOLV Starlight Parade produced a list of ideas that could be incorporated into your parade or festival.
Entertaining the Pre-Parade Spectators The Starlight Parade provides a variety of pre-parade entertainment for the thousands who line the street starting mid-afternoon for the 8:30 p.m. parade. The streets close to traffic at 6 p.m. but crowds are not bored looking at empty downtown streets.
- Families use the broad boulevards into playing fields for catch and wiffle-ball batting practice.
- Artists — of all ages — turn the route into a colorful carpet of chalk art drawings and hopscotch style games.
- Police hand out shiny golden sticker badges to the youngsters.
- Cart vendors sell chalk, horns, and snacks (nearby business have lines out the doors selling drinks and sandwiches).
- A contingent of clowns strolls the route engaging children in silly antics.
- The pre-parade 5K fun run includes a costume contest. So, when the runners come by about an hour before the parade, the crowds can cheer movie characters, surfers and sharks, brides and grooms, animals, ballerinas, and centipedes, we well as the traditional shorts and tank-topped runners.
- Entertaining and productive is the Clean and Green Program, which sends hundreds of volunteers along the route distributing trash bags. Instructions printed right on the bags encourage spectators to corral their trash and recyclables for post-parade pick up by professional haulers and volunteers.
Revenue Enhancers Many of the entertaining activities could also provide you with additional revenue for your event. Of course, they may come with some serious expense items, but the potential for net ‘profit’ is definitely there.
- You could field chalk sales teams. Purchasing the chalk in bulk early and working the crowd just as the streets close would help make it profitable. Be sure to remember that your crowd at a parade is stationary so your sellers must be mobile to make the most sales.
- A pre-parade fun run could generate runners’ registration fees. The Starlight Parade has a fee structure that charges less if runners register ahead, and has a premium fee for runners who wish to purchase a souvenir T-shirt.
- Clean and Green is a cooperative effort by the parade sponsors and provides a unique sponsorship opportunity for green or waste-hauling businesses in any city.
Increasing Participation, Attendance & Community Support Financial security of any event is often tied to attendance and community support. These Starlight Parade’s activities reach into a variety of community interest groups, expanding and securing their support.
- The 5K run appeals to the health-conscious, active community.
- Clean & Green speaks to the environmental and city pride communities
- The arts are encouraged with the chalk