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Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)

Melissa 03 Mar 10 - 04:56 PM
Goose Gander 03 Mar 10 - 04:59 PM
Melissa 03 Mar 10 - 05:19 PM
Melissa 03 Mar 10 - 11:25 PM
open mike 04 Mar 10 - 01:39 AM
wysiwyg 04 Mar 10 - 06:57 AM
Melissa 04 Mar 10 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,mg 04 Mar 10 - 06:43 PM
Melissa 04 Mar 10 - 07:57 PM
open mike 05 Mar 10 - 12:19 AM
Melissa 05 Mar 10 - 01:36 AM
JohnInKansas 05 Mar 10 - 03:45 AM
Melissa 05 Mar 10 - 10:59 AM
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Subject: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 04:56 PM

I am organizing a series of activities in very small towns (one of the ten towns has a population over 1000) These activities will be advertised locally, naturally..they will also be advertised in a couple cities within driving distance.

I need to name this thing so I can quit calling it 'activities'.
The best I've come up with so far is Big Doin's. My goal is to have a ruralesque-sounding name that won't insult locals and also doesn't sound toothless/backward to cityfolks.

Does Big Doin's sound dumb to you?
Is that the way it should be written?

Thanks,
Melissa
    PermaThread Note from Joe Offer: early in the life of this thread, Melissa asked if it could be deleted once the discussion is completed. I don't completely understand the reason, but I guess it's OK to consider it as if it were a PermaThread, under Melissa's control. Please be aware that this thread is an edited thread, subject to editing. and will probably be deleted at its completion.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: Goose Gander
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 04:59 PM

I would just call it Big Doings, and I like the idea. I've long had the idea that I would do just something like that someday, after I've burned all my bridges, and just see where I end up.

Oh, yes, I have plans. Such big plans.


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 05:19 PM

I considered Big Doings..and when I wrote it, I read it as 'Big Dongs'!

I am so excited with this project and the way it's shaping up. I've got a bunch of bands lined up and it delights me to be able to just sort of give them as a gift to the host towns.

This is fun..maybe you ought to start working on something like this while you've still got a few unscathed bridges, GG..?


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 11:25 PM


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: open mike
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:39 AM

be more specific..what sorts of activities?
would Chataqua fit the concept?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chautauqua

"Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day"

http://www.chautauqua.org/

http://www.bigtop.org/


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 06:57 AM

Melissa, can I ask what area yer in?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 02:47 PM

North Missouri, on the Dogleg Trail (that's what the stagecoach route through here was called..it's a highway now)

It would fit the wiki Chataqua definition and I really like the texture of the word. In this area, somehow 'chataqua' has come to mean something I would describe as "clueless folks throwing an Art/Culture festival" I think they're an excuse to eat funnel cakes.
So..good word, but it's a little bit tainted in this region.
I have a notion that it'll be easier to get everybody working together toward a common purpose if I start out with a made-up name.

My county is getting a Smithsonian exhibit (Journey Stories) next winter and I stepped up as Second Organizer.
The exhibit will basically be a batch of display boards that cover the US..immigration, dust bowl, civil rights, civil war..the idea is that it shows the journey from early to now. We are going to add some local displays to cover our county in the same way.

I decided that I want to take on the task of recording/archiving the Stories of anybody in the county who wants to talk. I will also work on finding local topics that won't be put on our display boards. Those random topics will be done in the form of a piece of paper to pick up and take.

So..since I will need to meet with folks in each town and encourage them to talk their locals out of the woodwork..and since I have been wanting to do some Community Building..I decided that the best way to get everybody talking (to me and each other) is to give them a party (except they'll really be the ones organizing that..we're just giving them a band and support/guidance)

These little fairs are the party. They're designed to remind folks that we like being rural and also to build local interest in coming to the Journey Stories exhibit when it's here.

These fairs will have sort of a "This is my town" flavor. They will be one day long and aside from the one show, I imagine they'll be mostly mingling on the street. It's a chance for folks to bring out their hobby and show off, for standing around talking about 'good ol days'..locals will be able to put out tables to sell whatever they want with little restriction.
My area had a LOT of music going on for years and there are still plenty of musicians around. I intend to have jam sessions going on all over town through the day.

While all that is going on, I think I am going to run a little circle of Very Beginner Guitar..hoping to have an instrument vendor with several hundred-dollar guitars. I will do the VeryBeginner at every town.

There are ten towns (including unincorporated townships) The Big Doin's will be hosted once in the towns that want one. I hope to draw decent participation within towns, which means each town can go to as many gatherings as they want.
The Doin's will also be advertised in city papers. This is partly so the locals can see that we are kind of interesting..and partly to bring some cityfolk money into the county.

The bands I'm inviting are all somehow tied to our county/history.
My main idea is to boost a little bit of pride and hopefully help my homecounty not be so sad and defeated.


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 06:43 PM

I like the concept..and my almost home town, Kelso, WA, is also going to be involved in the journey stories..I am not crazy about the title but that is just my preference...mg


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 07:57 PM

Thanks, Joe.
My reason for wanting to delete when we're done talking is that I don't particularly want this thread to pop up for folks who run an online search to find out scheduling/info on our activities.


Can you think of a better title, mg? I just want something ruralistic-sounding and this is what I was able to come up with.

When does the exhibit get to WA?
We won't have it until next winter.


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: open mike
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 12:19 AM

good luck...i think the smithsonian people have helped inspire a lot of community spirit...we had a series here based on food of the region
from the native american to miners, loggers and ranchers..
the local museum had an event every weekend with a focus on different time periods and different diets...my band got to play at a couple of these, and it was good fun!


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 01:36 AM

Time periods and food sounds like a good time!


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:45 AM

There are few names that are likely to be recognized as a specific kind of event by small towners - unless you call it "county fair" or "tractor pull"(?) - but almost anything should work if there's a brief explanation of what activities are expected.

The description needn't be much more than a list of "stuff" invited to be there.

I think the notion of a "chautauqua" has already been discarded, but must note that in my area, only a bit west and south of where you describe, that term is used almost exclusively by "evangelicals" for "tent revivals," and the risk is that a fair percentage of people in small (esp. rural) towns might think that's what you mean.

I'd suggest, for lack of something better, just billing it as the "Story Day" (or maybe Story Fest) with enough description (listed events/activities) to give people an idea of what to expect. A name for the event that doesn't allow them to assume what it is may even let your "list of events" get better attention.

Many small towns have "local" newspapers, but they're often weeklies, so extra lead time is needed to contact them and get a note in. It can be hard to find out about such publications in some places, since they're often printed in a larger city that's not necessarily in the "subscriber area." If you can't talk to the publisher, you might consider offering a choice of small, medium, and larger "bits" that can be inserted. Expect what you give them to be edited, regardless of what info you give them.

A fairly generic flyer to local church pastors etc may get an announcement on the bulletin board, or maybe even something by someone at a service. A similar flyer to local schools might help get the kids on your side. A principal, assistant principal, or librarian might be the most help - or you can try the coach since more people ill know who he is. And a surprising number of little towns do have a library (often the only internet in town) but don't expect them to be open all day every day, or even that the guy at the fillin' station will know there's one in the town.

If there are retail businesses (lots of small towns don't have one), flyers they can stick in a corner of the window can be effective, but if budget allows, a few handbills they can lay out on a counter for people to pick up and carry home may get more widespread publicity for you. If there's a co-op in the town, or in any nearby ones, that's definitely a place to hit.

Assuming the small towns are at least semi-rural, finding the "ag agent" for the region may (or may not) get you some clues about who the "movers" in the area are. There's nothing more effective than getting a respected (or notorious) member of the community to spread the word that (s)he's gonna be there; and sometimes just getting the right person(s) to say they've "heard about that" can do a lot.

The invitation to have local people provide their own stories can work quite well in some places, but decent advance notice - and timely reminders - may be needed. If they write something for you, it'll be "when they get to it" so it's also essential that there be a central point that they can get to to "deposit" their stories at the instant when they write them down - or sometimes just when they're "ready to talk" and are willing to let someone do the writing for them. Being the focal for this can be a big hassle AND/or a lot of fun.

CAUTION ADVISED: Experience in smaller projects somewhat similar suggests that inviting people to show old photos can sometimes bring out stories they wouldn't otherwise bother to write down for you; but if you do this you must have iron-clad certified bonded warranted ability to return photos to those who will want them back - and you may have a hard time convincing some of them that you're all that reliable regardless of what you promise. A good photo scanner to make on-the-spot scans might allow you to record some that people are willing to show you, but won't be willing to let you have even briefly; but that would probably require a fairly permanent "office" accessible to the town - and there's the possibility nobody will bring pictures in anyway.

But if you can get a good story by letting them show you the picture, that's better than not getting them to open up at all about their memories. And offering to look at pictures may get them to look at whether they have any, which might prompt them to write their essay for you.

John


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Subject: RE: Big Doin's in Small Towns (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 10:59 AM

Thanks, John.
I'll be having meetings in each town and the activities will be organized by people who live there..and we've got exceedingly good local paper participation. Local coverage will be pretty easy. Organizations and businesses will be represented at the meetings. Word-of-mouth and the paper ought to cover us very well locally.

I wanted a name that isn't likely to come with preconceived notions. I think an unfamiliar name gives us more freedom during the organizational stages. I want the locals from each town to own their activity and I prefer that folks don't come expecting a revival or one of those weird artsy festivals that seem to be popping up around here.

We have two main organizers for the big project. A loose description of our duties is that I do People, He does Paper.
There are two others in close cahoots with us. One runs the local papers (two weeklies in the county) and the other runs a website that posts old photos.
I think we've got a solid core.

While we're working on setting up the town activities, I intend for the meeting to be a social event. I think if folks get in the habit of visiting and talking about 'do you remember...' they will start thinking of neater and neater stories. Plus, if it's Social, I should get to eat some delicious cookies along the way.

I was thinking Audio and hadn't thought about folks writing down their stories. Thanks for that!


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