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Friday, June 27, 2014

WINE WHEELS & BEER: The Journey

 We are having a benefit for The Middletown Public Library in August and I've been helping to get it together.

Wow... I couldn't imagine this being so much work....

From the beginning, I knew it would be complicated. Fun, but complicated. I had NO IDEA what was needed to get an event planned and implemented. We knew the location and around when we wanted to have it, but that was about all.
 
The questions in my mind (no, not VOICES!) were seemingly endless.

How do we get the word out?
Who will we invite to participate?
Will there be a rain-date?
Is there life on Mars?
What kind of food will be available?
Will we want it to be a "kids" event?
Do we have enough space?
How many spaces do we need to park the show vehicles? The spectators? The Secret Service???

You see what I mean?

Who could answer these questions, plus the hundreds of others I had????

No one. well, no one ALIVE, and unlike Cole in the Sixth Sense, I can't see or even email dead people, so I was on my own....

I had to edumacate myself, yet didn't know too many people who had been through the process. I had asked a guy that was referred to me some questions, as he had organized shows before, but he seemed unexcited about lending a hand or an ear. I found out soon enough, there WAS a guy I knew who HAD the experience and the desire to help.... and he still had a pulse.

Let's call him "Moose" since that IS his nickname. He was a neighbor of mine who has a lifetime of experience in not only cars but seemingly everything else I ever was interested in. [full disclosure - I usually DON'T give Chevy guys too much respect, hardly ever including Chevy's in a CAR discussion unless you need an example of a BAD one. I've always been a Ford fan and Moose being a hard-core Chevy man, well.... let's say that I give him a pass. He's just THAT nice]. He has led a life filled with funny stories, good fortune, and happy endings. Moose is the kind of a guy that many, many people call friend. He is very gracious with his time and lets you make up your mind about choices, not just follow his advice. He's a cool guy to know and just the person I needed to keep from going schizophrenic! He helped with setting realistic expectations, what information to include with a flyer, where to distribute that flyer for maximum affect, the meaning of life, questions on trophies, plaques, giveaways, traffic flow, and many other things, real and imagined, that popped up on this journey. Without Moose, I might have been committed already.

I also found Joel. Joel is a classmate from the first grade. As far back as I can remember (OK, maybe NOT the best example since memory is not a strength of mine!) Joel has been one of the few people I call a friend. He is a VERY car-centered person with a Camaro (ANOTHER Chevy guy... ugh) he's had forever and a garage full of friend's cars that they work on together. He's a good guy that wants to help and I sure as heck needed it!

One of the most-common ways to get the word out about a car show is to GO to a car show and pass out a flyer about YOUR show. It happens all the time. Every gathering of cars you see, there will be many people who attend, with the sole reason being to attract cars to THEIR show.

It's actually a good way, since guys use the information gained at the shows to make up their minds where they will go next. There is a lot of competition for those few weekends from April to October (OK, maybe not a FEW but they go fast!). One of the reasons we chose the date we did was a LACK of other shows in the area.

There was only one problem with using guerilla flyerfare - most shows (including ours!) are on Saturday. Guess who works Saturdays? Yup.... ME. Ugh... [Spoiler alert - this is where Joel fits in]

Joel volunteered to pass out the flyers when he goes to any show in the area. Let me tell you, without HIM helping, I don't know how this first show would have progressed. He has gone to more than a couple and passed out thousands of flyers. I still have no idea how many cars, trucks, or bikes will show up, but whomever does, I will give Joel the most credit. He certainly has been a VIP in my eyes.

So, as the news of our event is spreading, I am getting less nervous about the turnout. My guess is, we will have plenty of vehicles show up. Hopefully we have the space, but I'm assured THAT will be no problem. I am focusing on finding sponsors to help defray the costs associated with putting on a show and have met a lot of wonderful business owners who want to help. Be it a small donation or a major role, they are all important in my eyes. Like I've said to many, "a little bit from many is better than a lot from a few". Some even understood.

When I have gone around asking for support, I say that I want this to be a Middletown-driven event. Sponsored by Middletown businesses, for a Middletown cause. I grew up in this wonderful place, where you didn't have to worry about much, and I have to admit, it's changed a lot. Not all for the better. There also isn't a lot going on for recreation. Yes we have things pop up every now and then, but nothing to bring in folks from all over to our little town. My vision for our show was to create a reason for someone to visit and have everyone in town involved. Maybe I'm dreaming, but it's what I do.

We have easy access, a good location, live music, and of course, wine and beer! - and (hopefully) a lot of cars to drool over. Time will tell if the show is a success. The weather certainly will have the biggest affect on the turnout, but I am hopeful that Wine Wheels & Beer will be an event to remember and one to be proud of. 

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