I had been waiting over two months for this day to come... and be over! I was joking with Rose that April 9th would be the best day of my life because on April 8th my big work project was due; I had to organize the first ever Piedmont Strawberry Festival!
It took countless hours of planning and organizing and brainstorming and cold calling (which you know how much I love that...) but I pulled it off somehow! When I got hired at Baucom Farms as the produce manager I said that I had a background in "agritainment." Aka making the farm a fun family destination. I told them that when I worked in Maryland we had a huge fall festival that brought in thousands of people every October. They had been wanting to do something like that for a while but needed someone to head it up. I guess that was me!
My boss tasked me to come up with a list of ideas and a realistic budget I thought we could pull off. I made my list and came back to him a few days later. He said "OK, do it." I thought he just wanted ideas so that he could help organize and get the whole farm on the same page helping out. That was not the case. It was entirely up to me... So it was up to me: the guy who had just moved down here, didn't know what the warmer weather would do to the Strawberries compared to what I was used to in Maryland, didn't know anyone to help me out, didn't know any of my coworkers or even the surrounding communities to begin marketing. He just said "go."
Needless to say I was a bit stressed out about the whole thing. I was introduced to several coworkers who had contacts that turned out to be a huge help and was given a desk with Internet access. Those were really my only tools. After a lot of Googling and phone calling I finally got it all together. My boss convened a little committee to help with the minor details that are easily overlooked and off we went. I had sent out fliers and done some social media marketing but we really had no idea how many people would show up. It was our first year afterall and we are a good distance outside of town. I was worried we'd do all this work and nobody would show up. Just a bunch of employees standing around in their red strawberry colored t-shirts with nobody to entertain... But it was a huge success!
Based on estimates by the employees over a thousand people showed up! We had crafts for the kiddies, ice cream and strawberry sundaes, wagon rides out to the field for pick-your-own, food cooked up by a local church, a bunch of cool tractors all over the place for kids to climb on, some local craft vendors, and a live music stage made out of a big rig! It was quite the turnout and I couldn't have been happier. Guess I have to start planning next year's now...
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He likes pizza.