06 October 2007

Columbia Heights Day, 2007


I really hate to bad-mouth this thing, since I'm a resident of the 'hood, but damn, where was everybody? The inaugural "Columbia Heights Day" didn't appear to be advertised much, and the event looked like an appalling failure.

We intended to catch the rock-solid-awesome Pet Parade at Sticky Fingers Bakery, but by the time we reached 11th Street, it was clear that the neighborhood's enthusiasm wasn't exactly at fever-pitch yet.

Some dejected folks with "Columbia Heights Day" t-shirts were apologizing and imploring folks to come back when things are really hopping. Workers were still wheeling in the porta-potties (portajohns? What are those wretched blue coffins called, anyway?), the stage didn't appear to be assembled, and vendors were still pretty sparse.

Eh, we thought: no worries. It's the very first CH Day, it may take a while to warm up. So we did brunch at The Heights and gave it some time. SURELY things would spring to life soon...


Brunch was fine, and I had my first bloody mary ever. There was a UNIVERSE of STUFF in there, and it wasn't half bad, although I imagine the vodka felt insulted, sharing the glass with all that STUFF. Anyway...

After brunch, not much had changed with the festival. Tubman Elementary's field was still void of action. We needed to give Gomez a bit of attention anyway, so we raced off to the dog park, promising to return and dig a little Columbia Heights Day later on...

These shots (all but the bloody mary) were taken at about 4pm, which should've been the very pinnacle of action and excitement.


I love the idea of this thing. Columbia Heights is a marvelous neighborhood with a vibrant population -- We could use a little grassroots power to keep the "human element" alive while the Target/Best Buy robot consumer madness swells on 14th street like a cash-filled carbuncle.

Ah well...if they do it next year, hopefully there will be more buzz & interest. This must've been a very expensive day for somebody.

And it's easy to accuse your humble narrator of bitching-without-volunteering, but hell: Attendance is participation, innit? I may offer my services as a graphic designer next year, if the crew behind this thing decides to do a little advertising. But real hands-on man-hours? I can't promise anything. The day-job is too unpredictable. 'Tis better to offer what I know I can deliver, rather than default on a promise later on.

But all that is for next year. As for Saturday, Tubman was embarrassingly devoid of action.


The Wonderland, by contrast, was buzzing with joy and beer and bodies...

So the lesson here is simple: Next time, skip the vendors, the music, and the whole DC Park Service stage setup in the school-yard, and just have a killer all-day happy hour at the Wonderland.

There. We have a plan.

13 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

It was too hot on Saturday for an outdoor festival. Maybe next year October will be crisp and cool, inviting.

I love bloody marys. Yum!! The vodka should feel honored to share the glass with all that delicious stuff. Yes!!

Michael J. West said...

As you said,

The inaugural "Columbia Heights Day" didn't appear to be advertised much,

Indeed, I didn't even know there WAS a Columbia Heights Day. This is the first I'd heard of it.

startingtoday said...

I live in the area, and the only reason I knew about it was because back in August, an organizer had knocked on my door asking me to sign something because they were trying to get the street closed for CH day.

I took a walk by, and I was surprised at how sparse the festival was. I didn't even see vendors/people in tents setting up until round 11am ish.

We had a festival like this in the town where I grew up. Vendor booths, food, entertainment. All were required to sign contracts (I wonder if CH participants had to?) Vendors had to arrive no later than 8 am and had to be ready and open by 10am. Food was even earlier - they had a pancake breakfast, and burgers, etc, for lunch. And they advertised the heck out of it.. Local papers, etc.

I don't think I saw CH day in the Express or anything - only a flyer at Starbucks.

IntangibleArts said...

Good points, all -- Promotion is key to the success of these things. It's gotta be hugely expensive to put on a gig like that, so maybe they start smaller next year, and let it grow over time?

The lack of the "pet parade" was a serious blow. Every day, I see a great number of insane, groovy, hideous, weird, and genuinely beautiful and charming dogs in CH... It would've been a blast to see 'em all in one place.

Next year?

handy said...

someone from the columbia heights day festival was sort of approaching crafty bastards vendors on the vendor gallery of the page by leaving comments to contact them...but they were approaching out of town craft folk!
and, like, two weeks before the festival!
c'mon folks...get it together

Anonymous said...

I also think promotion was an issue. I am acquainted with a few CH business owners (Mayorga and Carvel) and about a week or so ago asked them, "Hey are you guys participating in Columbia Heights Day?" and they looked at me like I had 2 heads. One suggested that what I really meant was Adams Morgan Day. They clearly had no clue it was happening.

Steph said...

I agree with you concerning the lack of promotion. With the proper marketing and use of professinally designed and printed collateral, this event could have been a success regardless of the unusual heat.

I would be interested in collaborationg with you if you do decide to offer your graphic design services. The more ideas that are brought to the table, the more successful the promotional campaign.

bogfrog said...

Where I grew up, everybody and their brother left town on Columbus Day weekend so that might be a part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Look, a few of the people setting up Columbia Heights day screamed at me in front of my wife and kids on Saturday. We refused to go after they yelled at us for no reason. The people who organized it treated us like jerks, so I'm ecstatic they failed!

IntangibleArts said...

yeesh! Has the world gone INSANE?!?! Sounds like things could've gone better when the Hospitality Tent starts firebombing the attendees and running wild with mace, fixed bayonets, and harsh language.

Maybe the event was a more accurate reflection of the neighborhood than I thought...

Allison said...

Thanks for commenting. I am one of the three people that started the non-profit to plan this and essentially everything you saw that day was the effort of six people over four months. A lot of the issues that were raised, such as no food or beverage vendors, were a result of DC Permit restrictions and the ability to put something together in such a short period of time. We basically chose the path of least resistance for the first year.

Furthermore, it was quite expensive and difficult to obtain buy-in for an innaugural event. All businesses were made aware of the event and were invited to participate on numerous occassions. I personally walked door-to-door to every business one day.

As far as advertising was concerned, there simply was not enough money in the budget. So, we instead needed to rely on community calendars and blogs. What you may not have noticed was that while people did not stay on the field, plenty of people came through, as was evident to us by our fundraising that day. Had we realized that the shirts sales would have been as successful as they were, we would have fronted the money for advertising. Also, while people did not stay they did flood the local restuarants, with sales up 150-300% for a normal Saturday.

I'm glad everyone enjoyed the music! It's sorta our favorite thing. In our minds we accomplished everything we set out to do and then some. And we were really happy to give Mayor Fenty a reason to come out and meet all of you.

We welcome suggestions and any type of support or donations of services. We have three times as long to plan next year, so the sky's the limit. www.columbiaheightsday.org

Anonymous said...

I actually stuck around and checked out the variety of groups performing that day. No ,I am not pictured above with my hands in my pockets, although I was probably nearby. Great live music was on display from a very unique rock reggae group called Pure Light Seed, a fun traditional Irish group called O'Tasty, some Hip Hop flavor from The Fif and DC's own Flex Matthews. The fantastic people over at the Wonderland Ballroom had an opportunity to celebrate while soaking in the bands through an awesome sound system. It turns out that the 41 acre RFK stadium lots were hosting the annual Blocktoberfest on the same afternoon. Perhaps the promoters will fine tune the planning for next year, so more of DC can enjoy an event like this.

sexy said...

成人漫畫,免費A片,色情網站,色情遊戲,情色文學,麗的色遊戲,色情,色情影片,同志色教館,色色網,色遊戲,自拍,本土自拍,kk俱樂部,後宮電影院,後宮電影,85cc免費影城,85cc免費影片,免費影片,免費小遊戲,免費遊戲,小遊戲,遊戲,好玩遊戲,好玩遊戲區,A片,情趣用品,遊戲區,史萊姆好玩遊戲,史萊姆,遊戲基地,線上遊戲,色情遊戲,遊戲口袋,我的遊戲口袋,小遊戲區,手機遊戲,貼圖,A片下載,成人影城,愛情公寓,情色貼圖,情色,色情網站,色情遊戲,色情小說,情色文學,色情,aio交友愛情館,色情影片,臺灣情色網,寄情築園小遊戲,情色論壇,嘟嘟情人色網,情色視訊,愛情小說,言情小說,一葉情貼圖片區,情趣用品,情趣,色情漫畫,情色網,情色a片,情色遊戲,85cc成人片,嘟嘟成人網,成人網站,18成人,成人影片,成人交友網,成人貼圖,成人圖片區,成人圖片,成人文章,成人小說,成人光碟,微風成人區,免費成人影片,成人漫畫,成人文學