Event,Food & Wine,Wine

Bird’s Eye View of An Event Organizer ~ The Devil’s in The Details

Dear Diary,

When putting on an event, there are so many big picture things that have to be done. (They’re in all CAPS.)

    • Finding the perfect one
    • Set up
    • Tear down
    • Constant communications
    • Creating a floor plan that fits everyone onto the grid
    • Having Port-a-Potties lined up
      • Last year’s were dark and further from the entrance than we like
      • This year, the Royal Flush!
    • Liquor license… Filling out paper work, going to the ABC for a one-day liquor license
    • Security…
      • Make sure they have flashlights
        • Yup… they’re pros
      • Are you sure everyone can fit in the parking area?
        • Yup… they’re pros
    • The operations and their details go ever on
    • Constant communications
    • Getting all the wineries signed up
      • Deadline is at the end of December
      • Right up to two weeks before, wineries want to be included
        • TO ME: “Please check again to find just a little space. I only have one wine to pour.”
        • TO HIM: “I played with the schematic last night for three hours. There is absolutely no way that I can fit in the four of you (that are waiting and would love to participate with this one). This also means that next year that I HAVE to look at a new spot for D&D, as we’ve outgrown the ability to get all of our members into this venue. As I said, most of the brands were slotted for the event by the end of December, and the rest has been logistical operations, marketing, etc. I’m really sorry. If you’d like to pull your membership until next fall, I understand. Just let me know. We can hold off processing your membership.”
    • Making sure to get an insurance rider
    • Requesting “working for trade” samples
    • Encouraging members to donate a silent auction item
    • Giving participants their guidelines
    • Constant communications
  • FOOD
    • Getting all the food vendors set
    • Giving them their guidelines
    • Constant communications
    • Getting sponsors line up
    • Constant communications
  • STAFFING – Will Work for Wine
    • Staffing with people who will work for trade. (I’ve decided that the psychology of calling them volunteers isn’t where it’s at… when they receive the following)
      • $200.00 value
      • Six bottles of wine (valued at least $150.00), a long-sleeve logo T-Shirt ($30.00 suggested retail), and an hour to wine and dine ($20.00)
      • Volunteers usually walk away with just the satisfaction of helping out a worthy cause, so the verbiage really needed to change this year to be more appropriate for what it really is… A Will work for Wine program.
    • Constant communications
      • NON STAFF (too many volunteers for too few  – for their liking – positions) Upon finding out that this one didn’t get to me in time:
        • TO ME: “weird and rather disappointing. i got your autoresponder and clicked on the link. it said i would only need to do that once. when i sent the followup query, i got your autoresponder again. so that suggests it’s a problem with that.”
        • TO HIM: Hi Blank, Somehow your Email never got to me. We’re all set for this year, but will save your Email for next year’s list. Sorry…. I don’t know what happened to your Email. I have no record of it.”
        • TO ME: “here’s what i sent you on jan 10… i was invited by a winemaker, as you can see… and responded within 3 hours. this is really disappointing.”
        • TO HIM: “Thank you for the forward. I understand your disappointment, and I’m sorry that we don’t have you this year. As you can see, I’m still working on the volunteer fallout. You’re not alone, believe me. The winemaker’s Email to his database of 800 people had me receiving about 80 responses for the volunteer jobs that were available in no time. The first 50 that came into my inbox were the ones chosen. It not only happened very swiftly, but it was a lot of work to manage, because I’ve never had anything like this one happen before. I did the best I could, and placed the first 50 slots that were available, living on Email for not only that day, but it took four days to get everything settled down. Again, I do understand that it’s something that you would have loved to do. Because everyone is getting a long sleeve T-shirt, seven bottles of wine, and an hour to taste and sip, this is a hot commodity item… The blessing and the curse of it… Thank you for letting me know. For now, we’re a bit overstaffed, and I’m concerned that I have my wineries get enough wine to me for all the volunteers, so I cannot take on anyone else.”
        • TO ME: “rather disappointing”
      • STAFF
        • TO ME: “Your last e-mail I would be working the tables as I did last year. I don’t want to complain, but I did not expect as a returning volunteer to be doing dump buckets.”
        • TO HIM: “Dear Blank: I understand that this is the least pleasant job of any wine event, right along with trash, and floor sweeping after the event (which I’ll do doing)… I did want to have you in another position, and then when it came time to put everyone into a permanent slot, I have so many women over the men. I’ve spent so many hours on this set up, and just didn’t want to put any women into this slot, as well as trash… Kind of the way we do things around the house, as sexist as that sounds. At this time, it’s impossible to be moving people around. I hope you’ll understand. If this is just too much to bear, you can pull out of the event, and I’ll Email someone on my waiting list. I’d rather have you walk away from it disappointed that the job you wanted didn’t hold true than to have you feel that you’ve been slighted by us in a way that will have you really resenting it all.”
    • Press releases
    • Email blasts created for each winery to send to their fans
    • Constant communications
    • Inventory
    • Ordering
    • Storing
    • Accounting
    • Recording
    • Constant communications
    • Traveling for all things necessary
    • Hiring trucks for getting all supplies and equipment to the event
    • Constant communications

I just have to reflect that while it might seem glamorous to be the event organizer, all that really means is that you get to sweat all of the details… where so many times, you’ll find the devil making sure that no good deed goes unpunished. Seven days and counting and constantly communicating. Fingers crossed for another successful wine and food party for those who attend at whatever level.

Dark & Delicious… Almost here…

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