by Barney Quick
The remainder of 2008 in Brown County is going to be a succession of celebrations including music, classic car cruise-ins, a farmers’ market, an outhouse race (to ensure that unique Brown County touch), a chocolate walk, and Christmas festivities. The entire series will transpire under the name “Events 2008.” The fiscal agent is the Brown County Chamber of Commerce, but the organizing committee also includes representatives from the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Art Alliance Brown County, the Merchants Association, and the Small Lodging Association.
Various other organizations will be involved with particular events. “The overall theme for the series is partnering,” says Chamber president Suzannah Zody.
Last year, a more condensed series of events of one kind called Downtown Saturday Night, was presented. The Events 2008 committee conducted a survey of most retail establishments in Nashville to see what worked regarding Downtown Saturday Night and what didn’t. “Respondents said they wanted events on other days along with Saturdays, more art and food components, and more events during non-peak months, such as April, June, and September,” says Zody.
The series kicks off on Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26, with Taste of Brown County Walks. Two tents will be set up—one at Coachlight Square and one on the courthouse lawn—where wristbands can be purchased that allow one to sample food and wine in various Nashville restaurants, galleries, and businesses. “A lot of visitors come to Brown County, rent a cabin on a Friday evening and hole up. We’re hoping this will get them into town.”
The Spring Blossom Art Festival will run from May 2 through May 11. It will involve entertainment, late shopping, a parade, a Scout auction, an antique tractor show, art booths and on-street art demonstrations.
Summer Street Fairs will run from May 18 through August 2 on the first Saturdays and third Sundays of each month and will once again feature classic car cruise-ins, live entertainment ,and family activities. The locus of activity will shift throughout that time from the north side of town to the south and vice versa in order to involve businesses in each area.
The fairs will also involve farmers’ markets on the first Saturday of each month, from June 7 through October 4. “It will be a go on a given Saturday if we have five or more booths,” says Jenice Platt of the Purdue Extension Office. “We’re looking for any and all vendors, as long as they offer Indiana-grown produce.”
An interesting event will take place May 10 and 11 on the lawn of the Methodist church, at the corner of Main and Jefferson Streets. It reflects the growing trend in ecotourism. In a tent on the lawn, Bonnie Closey of Brown County Solid Waste Recycling Center will provide bottles and other recycled plastic materials from which families can make art.
The mid-September Outhouse Race, a venerable Brown County institution, will be conducted in partnership with the We Care Gang, a local philanthropic group that provides basic necessities to people with emergency needs. Attendees of past races know that some of the contestants’ themes can be quite imaginative.
On November 15, the Choclolate Walk will take place in partnership with the Brown County Humane Society. Over twenty Indiana chocolate makers are contributing delectables that will be available in shops throughout Nashville.
Lighting Up the Town, the ceremony at which Nashville’s Christmas lights will be turned on, will take place December 5.
One marketing strategy the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau is using to generate interest in Events 2008 is Girlfriends Getaways. “Women 35 and older are a very big demographic for us,” says the Bureau’s Marketing Director Debbie Dunbar. “This is a trend in travel promotion that fits perfectly for us. I recently went to travel shows in Louisville and St. Louis and people were picking up our informational cards about it five at a time.”
Along with the organizations on the series committee and the partners for specific events, Suzannah Zody is particularly grateful to Nashville’s Town Council. “It’s been tremendously helpful with details like street blocking, signage, sponsorship, and licensing issues,” she says.
For more information, contact Suzannah Zody at (812) 988-2227 or <Susannah.firstname.lastname@example.org>, or Events Coordinator Carmen Penley at (812) 720-1900 or <email@example.com>.