The feedback is in from every perspective, (attendees, hotels, community, businesses, sponsors and organizations) and the overwhelming majority felt that the 2018 A Gettysburg Christmas Festival (AGCF) exceeded expectations in attendance, sales and fun. The Main Street Gettysburg (MSG) team used many sources to gather this feedback including: requesting comments from Facebook followers, talking to festival sponsors, businesses and community residents. An MSG Community Economic Development Advisory Committee meeting garnished feedback from volunteers, residents, businesses and some festival planning individuals. The input began the day of the festival with MSG staff and volunteers going into shops and talking to owners. Unsolicited comments were sent to MSG after the festival with 4 common themes. 1) I have never seen so many people in downtown. 2) Everyone was happy and smiling. 3) I had record sales with many sharing that sales were up 3, 4 or 5 times compared to previous years in December. Finally, the most important to me personally, was the sentiment of The community united with pride and put on their Sunday best.
More importantly, beyond the compliments, the MSG team worked hard to solicit and understand how to make the festival better for 2019. While the 2018 AGCF Facebook followers totaled more than 100,000 before the festival, no one was prepared for the huge crowds. Staffing, products, traffic management, parking and just plain space were all at a premium. Some shops had lines outside and restaurants had 2 hour waits.
The bar for the 2019 festival was set extremely high in 2018 and will be difficult to reach. Planning is already underway. The 2019 AGCF will span 3 days, beginning on Friday evening, December 6 and ending on the afternoon of Sunday the eighth. It will require our community to unite, invest their time, participation, and funds to achieve the 2019 expectations.
Effective communication is the heart of any successful initiative. Getting the right information to the right person at the right time is a daily challenge. Everyone is very busy and seeks information from various sources. MSG will have a communications team to help get information out in various ways. A festival preparation public meeting will be held to prepare the town within a month of the event.
Likewise, MSG is looking for volunteers for planning, preparation, day-of and post event activities. MSG is currently recruiting volunteers to participate on event planning teams with event planning, marketing, communications, signage, programming and design skills.
We are also asking the businesses, especially those who fared well in 2018, to invest a bit and help with the cost of the festival. Please set aside a contribution in your 2019 budget and you will be contacted to ask for your support. What most people do not realize, when you include the value of in-kind services, as well as the hard costs, the total cost to put on the 2018 festival was approximately $40,000. Based on the sales feedback that MSG received from the hotels, businesses, and non-profit activities, the economic boost in Adams County was an exceptional return on vestment.
Let’s make the 2019 event exceed the extraordinary bar that was set in 2018. Please contact MSG at firstname.lastname@example.org to offer your skills, time and/or financial support for the 2019 AGCF.