I'm not really sure how you judge the success of an event. You have goals in mind and set certain expectations but beyond that.
What makes an event a success?
Is it the number of people who show up? Or how many people stay afterwards to shop? Or the number of smiling faces when Santa comes to town?
Depending on whom you ask those expectations should change. For a local business owner, having people spend money and visit your shop should be high on your list.
For me on Friday, I had set some "professional" expectations and they were all exceeded because of a group of wonderful volunteers, parade participants and the vibrant downtown businesses that made the Christmas Parade and Walk happen.
Not everything fell into place as planned leading up to the parade and at about 15 minutes before the start. I was worried. We had a missing unit and not much time left on the clock.
But almost like magic about ten minutes later, a light snow started to fall, our missing unit was in place, and "we are ready to go" came over the walkie-talkie.
If you've never volunteered to line-up a parade, it's challenging. Everyone who helped: Eric and Diana Paddock, John Papalia, Bill Thompson, Mike Olewine, and Rob and Melissa Port - thank you. You were amazing.
To those who helped keep things organized and register parade participants: Jodi Patchen, Julie Miller, Keith Hedges and Chris Studley thank you.
Dale Bliss, thank you for lending your voice and emceeing the parade with Melissa Anderson.
To Melissa and the WCCBI, there are not enough words to express my appreciation for co-sponsoring this event with the Times Observer, but thank you.
It was also a pleasure to get to honor Wally Post as our Grand Marshal. Wally has done so much for this community when it comes to organizing parades. Our hope was to give Wally the night off and let him enjoy what he's done for so many people in the past. Alas, Wally still helped getting people lined-up before we put him in the WWII jeep.
I absolutely do not want to leave out the City of Warren and its officials. Thank you, it was a pleasure working with you. Chief Zydonik, Mary Ann Nau, Sergeant Deppen, and everyone else involved, thank you for being so accommodating and helpful through this whole process.
If you volunteered or helped out in anyway and I forgot you, thank you. Please forgive my terrible memory.
But most importantly: thank you to all the businesses that participated, the organizations that marched in the parade and to everyone who came downtown to watch the parade and experience the walk. Without you Friday evening would not have been possible.
My hopes are that someone has a new favorite restaurant or place to shop. The more people who are talking about our downtown, the better!
On a personal note, I realized that we had accomplished what we set out to do when Santa rounded the corner and my seven-year-old son, Seth, smiled from ear to ear. At that moment for me, nothing else really mattered. It was all a success. The guest of honor was in town.
Melissa and I had a chance to talk on Saturday after everything had settled down. Circle, Friday, December 5th, 2014 on your calendars.
If there is something you'd like to see please feel free to share your ideas, we have less than a year to plan.