It wasn’t fair that Aleia, the gal who worked at the Florence Events Center and who was part of the Florence Festival of Books Planning Committee, was leaving just before we opened up to accept registrations. Working with different people not familiar with the Festival’s inner workings turned out okay for the most part. But we no longer have an FEC person on the committee. Much of what Aleia did, we are now doing. We miss Aleia!
By early August, sponsors were lined up for the Florence Festival of Books, so we were able to get our flyers and poster finished and printed. By the third week of August, all tables were sold out. Then the bios of the authors and publishers participating were edited and placed on the website, www.FlorenceFestivalofBooks.org along with info about the Festival as a whole, info about the eBook discussion panelists, and info about the Keynote Speaker, William “Bill” Sullivan. All that was happening mostly on schedule.
Then three weeks prior to the Festival, everything ramped up––especially advertising. We were on the radio, TV and social media. I did a 25-minute interview for KXCR in Florence and two other committee members were on Our Town for KCST also in Florence. And two of us recorded 30-second spots for KCST
I was recorded via Zoom for a 2-minute, 45-second segment for a Eugene TV KVAL news program that aired at noon. We were mentioned every day for 10 days on Eugene TV KEZI with a book giveaway each day from 10 of our participating authors.
We were in the local newspaper with articles and ads as well as the Insert the Wednesday before. We plastered Florence with flyers. And mailed them to 55 venues throughout western Oregon and distributed in person in Yachats, Waldport, and Reedsport. I heard from more than one source that they noticed more advertising this year. I certainly hope so, that’s why we hired a marketing consultant.
On Wednesday just four days before the Festival, the special 12-page Insert appeared in the Siuslaw News devoted totally to the Florence Festival of Books. To prepare for it, the committee put together four articles and the lists of sponsors and committee members as well as assigning two more articles. The deadline was September 2 and proofing was done the following week. Besides appearing in the paper, the Insert will also be the program at the actual event.
On Thursday, a special sponsor poster we had ordered was picked up and is exactly what we wanted.
On Friday morning, the FEC team will set up the tables and drape them as well as set up the separator curtains between them. That afternoon, the committee is scheduled to collate and pass out everything needed by the 66 participants. Later that afternoon, the keynote speaker, William Sullivan, will meet with the tech person at the FEC to set up for his Keynote address.
Fifteen or so volunteers are undergoing training this week for their particular duties on Saturday. And by now, the committee has located the T-shirts and/or aprons that they will be wearing.
One committee member has prepared the table numbers and participant names and also the name inserts for the lanyards, and they’ve been edited. Someone else located the lanyards. The welcome letter for the participants and the evaluation to be filled out at the end of the day have been run off and are ready for the participants.
A form for the attendees letting us know how they found out about the event and their zip code and their email if they want to be on our mailing list has been run off also. This form will go into a drawing, where one will be the winner of a basket of goodies. Included in the basket are five donated books from participating authors. I sent out the request Thursday, and within a couple hours all five let me know that they would be happy to donate a book. Love these authors!
The central credit card station will be set up with help from Oregon Pacific Bank and the forms in triplicate needed for credit card sales were located last week and collated into packets of four to be passed out to every participant.
Each panelist is prepared for their segment of the eBook panel discussion, and they plan to arrive early enough to get their tables set up before their 9 a.m. panel discussion. I’ll be the moderator and have been working with them.
On Friday, the stars of the show––all 66 participants––will be getting their books together, obtaining cash for their cash boxes, and locating their display swag and packing it in their cars ready for a quick getaway Saturday morning. Or maybe they will arrive on Friday, having made plans to spend one or two nights at the coast. We did work out discounted lodgings at three places in town.
And so it goes . . .
The planning that began last April, culminates this Saturday, September 24, in our all-day Book Festival. The past few weeks have indeed been “crunch time” with almost daily last-minute problems that needed solving. Finally, we feel like we’ve got it covered, that we’re ready, that everything will run smoothly. So, I hope you can stop by and see for yourself how it all comes together.
Note: Except for the panel discussion at 9 a.m. and the Keynote Address at 4:15 p.m., you can come and go as you please during the book fair between 10 and 4. All events are free and at the Florence Events Center, located behind Safeway. See you there!