Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Exclusive Interview with the World's Greatest Event Organizer...
It was shortly before Christmas, when I started to think about how big an event it really is... perhaps the world's largest single day event! With that thought in mind, we managed to arrange for an exclusive interview with the master himself, St. Nick! The following is our interview in its entirety.
Festival Nomad (FN) - As events of this size normally take a year or more to plan, what is your most difficult challenge?
Santa Clause (SC) - "The initial planning. Having a clear direction, a set of detailed goals and a realistic budget are the keys. Once you have these challenges worked out, everything else falls into place."
FN - What is your greatest reward and why do you do this every year?
SC - "It's the children! Their smiling faces and joyful laughs are my greatest rewards! They are also the reason why I do this year after year!"
FN - Don't you get bored?
SC - "No, not at all. The world is ever changing, children grow up, babies are born, new toys are developed. It's an enormous challenge, but one that keeps me alive and interested!"
FN - This may seem to be an odd question, but what do you do when you need a washroom break?
SC - "I've learned from past experience not to drink, especially coffee, before my worldwide trip! Fortunately this is not a problem for me! Unfortunately, it's the reindeer that haven't learned yet, especially Rudolph!"
FN - How do you keep your Elves happy and motivated?
SC - "We've been doing this for a very long time, and I have learned over the years that happy Elves work the best! I treat them with respect, give them well defined jobs and we all have a lot of fun while we are working. The key is that we work as a team. I also keep reminding them why we are working so hard and what a worthwhile endeavour Christmas is!"
FN - With the economic turndown, how are you cooping?
SC - "Unfortunately, like everyone else, we are affected by the economy. Over the years we have developed the goodwill of the worldwide community and they have been helping me through these difficult times. Also, like I said before, we develop a very realistic budget at the beginning of the year and then work to that budget. We also try to have a contingency plan in place just in case a catastrophe occurs."
FN - Do you ever get tired of the "standard" event refreshments (milk and cookies) that are served?
SC - "I obviously like it in small quantities, but it does become a bit routine after a while. I prefer the more healthy food in the long run. After all, I do have to watch my waist line! Mrs. Claus is always reminding me about my weight! Fortunately Christmas comes only once a year, so a little over indulgence doesn't hurt too much! Beside, throughout the rest of the year I manage to eat properly. We've even set up an exercise room for the Elves and me! I exercise pretty much every day. Got to keep in shape for the rigors of the job!"
FN - Since you're such a great organizer, how come you don't do other events throughout the year?
SC - "To be honest with you, Christmas is a huge endeavor. It takes a lot of time and effort by myself and my team to do it right. It is such a great and important event that I don't want to take anything away from it by deluding my time, effort and resources on other projects?
FN - Is that why Christmas is just a one day event?
SC - "Yes, that's right. We've thought about expanding, but when it came right down to it we felt that the extra days weren't worth the effort. The increased manpower, cost and time just didn't make sense. Besides, we've seen others try to run longer events and most seem to have fallen flat."
FN - Your event is very well publicized, how do you do it"
SC - "Well, as you know, experience is a great teacher. Over the years we've managed our advertising budget wisely and we have formed many important partnerships. As a result Christmas has grown over the years from a small idea to a large movement! Now, everywhere you go, the magic of Christmas is in the air! Creating this effect, as an event planner, has been both fun and challenging!"
FN - So, Santa, what do you do the day after Christmas?
SC - "Good question! I guess I'm like everyone else, I kick off my shoes and lie back in my favourite easy chair! Too much milk and cookies! However, in the days following Christmas, I get together with the Elves and we discuss how everything went. We look at both the good and bad and try to figure out how we can make next year that much better! After that, we have one heck a party! We want to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate a job well done!"
FN - Santa, thank you very much for the interview. You've given us a lot to think about. Your expertise is invaluable. Do you have anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

SC - "I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year! And remember, I know who's been naughty and nice!"

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Honey, You Want to Leave When?!

Weekends for most people are a time to relax and to sleep in. No so, for the Festival Nomads! We travel to a lot of events that are quite a distance away from where we live, and we like to make the most of each event we visit. So, sometimes we need to leave quite early! That’s why it’s always interesting when Judi asks me what time we have to leave. Basically I’m a “time” coward! When she asks the “time” question, my mind races! I try to be gentle and evasive. I pause and think, and then let my “sales training” kick in! So I answer her question with a question. “What time do YOU want to leave, honey?” or “What time do YOU think we should get there?” Always putting the onus back on her as though it’s her fault that we will have to get up early. Sometime it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. Sometime I just mumble the answer, hoping that she won’t hear me, but she keeps on asking until I give her a “straight” answer. We’ve been married for a long time, so she knows me too well and has my “sneakiness” pegged! I’ve even tried the “old dodge” answer. “Let me think about it. I’ll check their website and let you know. Of course, I already know the answer, but I’m too much of a coward to tell her the truth! It does, however, “buy” me a little time. My “sneakiest moments” are when I don’t give her a straight answer, and then on the morning we have to leave I wake her up and say “Aren’t you getting up, we have to leave soon!” She answers by saying “You never told me.” I come back with a snappy “Yes I did, don’t you remember?!” She knows I’m fibbing. I know I’m “fibbing”, but she a good sport and lets me get away with it! She understands me all too well!

Now, my fellow festival fanatics, I am NOT suggesting that you should follow my lead. In fact, I am hoping just the opposite. We need fewer “time” cowards out there. So stand up and be counted. Fess up and tell your better half that you need to leave at 5:00 am, like it or not! I’m sure he/she won’t hurt you… MUCH!
"What time is it!"

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Birth of the Festival Nomad (Part Two)

I said to Judi, “I want to share our experiences with others. I am going to write a Blog!” She said, “… a WHAT?” I explained to her what I had in mind and what a Blog was. Once she completely understood, she was in full agreement. When we got home I started pouring over all the Festival and Event information I could find. With Judi’s help, we created an itinerary for the next few months. We started to make lists of what we needed to take with us on our visits, how we would get to these events and what we would do when we got there. I went onto each festival’s website and printed off the sections I thought would be helpful. Finally I got down to writing my first festival blog. It, of course, was about the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival. I asked my friends and family to read the article. They all gave me great feedback! They told us it was a worthwhile idea and to keep going. That was all the encouragement we needed. We were going to travel around Ontario Communities looking for great festivals and events to visit and adventures. From that moment on, The Festival Nomad or should I say Nomads were born!

Since then (2007). Judi and I have visited over 500 communities, festivals, events, fairs, museums, heritage sites and attractions! We have met 1000’s of interesting people and have loved every minute of it. Ontario Visited websites are a labour of love and we are proud that our little festival blog has turned into successful websites, which attract 100,000’s of web visitors from around the world, each year. Here’s to another 10 years of great adventures!
As an added note, this past spring, on the 10th anniversary of our first "Ontario visit", we traveled back to Elmvale (a little shorter travel this time) and enjoyed their Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival.