Today’s guest post is by Taylor J.M. Erdie. Taylor is a young, sophisticated, event planning student who never fails to make a bold statement. Equal parts style and melody, Taylor is driven to make your dreams come to life. Her moto: You will remember me.
As one of my managers always told me, coming from a place like Chatham, Ontario we always seem to be “myth busting”. So the transition from the big city of Toronto, Canada to my little hometown was nothing less than a jurastic change. Especially in the event industry where it seems like Toronto always has something going on around every corner. However being back in Chatham for the summer allowed me to connect with the local events where I have always called home.
The event, the ‘unofficial’ start of summer, kicked off with the 15th Annual RetroFest street show on Friday May 22nd and Saturday May 23rd of 2015. On Friday hundreds of classic cars that were 1990 and older, began at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre for the ‘OLG Classic Car Cruise’ where the community could see the vehicles in action as they made their way to downtown Chatham. They could drive around for as long as they like or park and check out local bars and restaurants and the band Divine Right on King’s Commons. Finally, at sunset families were invited to watch a free movie; Strange Magic, in Tecumseh Park and bring canned food items to donate to the Salvation Army food drive. It’s an event that’s great for the kids and definitely brings the community closer together.
As for Saturday, Chatham had a ton of elements in place to go along with the big event. In addition to the regular judges, they had junior judges this year according to Historic Downtown Chatham’s website, “to teach kids what to look for and how to grade classic cars”. From my own personal opinion this is great. It gives those a chance who are really interested in classic cars to learn some knowledge and gain some hands on experience. And what child wouldn’t want to brag to his/her friends that they were a judge at this year’s event! Chatham has always done a great job when it comes to getting the kids involved.
Not only did this year event consist of Classic Cars and little cuties of junior judges, local businesses on King Street were busy, busy, and busy. There was a Soap Box Derby where kids could race on William Street, Tecumseh Park was loaded with activities such as: zip lining, bumper cars, and even a bouncy castle. They had numerous vendors from food and clothing to toys, crafts, and more. And of course what would an even be without some great music and announcements from Party Time DJ and two bands later on; Yesterday’s Child and Superfly.
Community’s Businesses Benefit from RetroFest Event
For those who were out of town they would be able to get great deals at some of the surround hotels like Travelodge, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Suites, and Super 8. Personally, if you wanted to be a thirty second walk and close to all the action, The Retro Suites Hotel was the place to be. For me, this is one of my absolute favourite places and I consider it to be Chatham’s hidden gem. This expanding boutique hotel was actually my final deciding factor to go into the events industry. But that story is for another time.
When I attended the event on Saturday, I decided to take my questions to the streets where I asked car owners and attendees what their favourite part of the event was, how long had they been a participant and especially what it does for the community of Chatham. I was pleased to hear the exact thoughts I had in mind. Some folks had been participating for only a couple of years and some as much as ten or more. People loved the fact that they could check out the local businesses have activities for their kids, see friends and of course make new ones. One individual considered RetroFest to be the “best street show he’s ever been to and the judging is always fair”. Each individual agreed that is has nothing but a positive impact on the entire community. Businesses are booming and the community is brought closer together. Needless to say the 15th Annual RetroFest of 2015 was a complete and total success.
Check out Taylor’s other guest post: A Student Shares Her Journey into Event Planning