This past weekend saw the 2nd Annual Atlanta Ice Cream Festival. Now when I say this, two things probably immediately spring to mind. One is that ice cream is a wonderful thing. And two, that the majority of our readers do not live in Atlanta so what the hell do you care (and damn me for having access to a park with ice cream in it)? I’ve taken this into consideration, I assure you. And I think I’ve noticed some things that could be of use to anyone anywhere planning any sort of festival or festival-ish event. As I’m fond of saying, “When the guy with the English degree can spot the flaw in your plan, you have serious issues.” So here are a few notes I took that I hope are helpful.
1. Signage. This event was held in Piedmont Park. According to Wikipedia (which is always right), Piedmont Park consists of 189 acres of land. When you are holding an event in a park of any substantive size, might I suggest putting up some signs that tell people where exactly in the park your event can be found? Granted, it might be good to list your location on the website (wasn’t there) or even on your Facebook page (not there either) but that notwithstanding, a couple of bloody real world signs might be very helpful indeed. Now, to be clear: I’m not suggesting you spend undue amounts of coin and plaster the place. But a few choice places to hit might be the major parking garage where people are probably going to park–along with maybe a major corner of the park facing the road. With the former, just a small sign with an ice cream cone image on it and the location listed would have been enough. With the latter, maybe a banner with the same. In that case, the southwest corner of the park is what most people approaching the park for the festival would have passed while driving–so a decent sized banner with an ice cream cone on it would have done the trick. I say a graphic of an ice cream cone because I figure anybody driving in for that festival is going to have it on the brain and will clue into the sight of it immediately.
[ad#rightpost]2. Something Else About Location. It might be a good idea to ensure that the park employees know where you are. A very helpful employee there pointed us to the southwest corner of the park where we promptly found…nothing. Now, when something has gone wrong my first assumption is I’m the one at fault. So I wouldn’t be bitching at all (helpful, I mean…I’m trying to be helpful to future festivals) but three parties of people wandered up while we were standing around and I tried to get more information from my phone. All three parties of folks were also looking for the festival, pointed there by helpful park employees who honestly thought they had the right info. Again, between signage and this, whether you got to the park by walking or driving, you would have found the festival, which happened to be pretty much dead center in the southern half and not really in a corner. (Finally found where to go by calling the phone number listed on the Facebook page, which had an answering machine message and that had the info we needed.)
3. If You’re Hosting the X Festival, Make Sure You Solve For X, Whatever X Is. Again, I am honestly trying to be helpful here and no joke. There were all of two vendors there who specialized in ice cream. (Or if there were more, maybe they were hidden some place with no adequate signage. It’s possible.) Now, let me just say those two vendors made a great showing. Jake’s was on hand with excellent stuff like Coffee & Donuts Ice Cream (with real donut chunks) and Jackie’s had the Frosted Flakes Ice Cream pictured above. That latter was vanilla ice cream with Frosted Flakes mixed in and they handed you a small box of Frosted Flakes in case you needed more of the cereal taste. Man, I love well thought out excess. There were cupcakes and funnel cakes and cheesecakes and food…and I will never turn down such, however…it is an ice cream festival, yes? And two major local providers of frozen desserts that spring to mind, High Road and King of Pops, were not there. The good news is, for people who want local providers of ice cream–they exist, yes. But where were they? Call it the Dessert Festival. Or even the Just Needed An Excuse To Get Out of the House And Eat Stuff Festival. But if this is the second year and I could only find two tents who were solely selling ice cream, what did it look like last year?
Again, this is not meant to be a bitchfest. Whether you are in Atlanta or wherever, there do need to be festivals and/or random reasons to go and wander around a park and learn about new local resources for food and frolic. However, they need to be a bit better organized and a bit better attended by vendors. Especially if you’re going to drag somebody like me out into where the Dayball can have its way with me. Seriously.