Out and About

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I made it down to the Chili Cookoff and the Strawberry Festival today, as a matter of fact the whole family was there. I have been to each of the events in the past, and it seems as though the events popularity has increased. These are the events which attract the younger crowd. The beer garden, the activities for the young children, and the family atmosphere.

The Virginia Chili Cookoff had been held around the Market building in the past and where First Fridays had been held. This year it was held in the parking lot directly behind the bus station. The turnout was great, although next year they will have to find an area to accommodate all the patrons. All in all it was fun, and a lot of people seemed to like seeing Big Tom from Survivor. Apparently he is as close as Southwest Virginia comes to having a Celebrity.

After the Chili Cookoff we made it to the Strawberry Festival which was very well attended as well. The lines were long, but moved relatively fast. Once we got our Strawberry shortcakes we made it over to a shady area and took a break. The wait sure is worth it for those desserts. We listened to the live music and enjoyed the great weather.

When I go to these events I can’t help but think about the firefighters. Guys ask me all the time what the RFFA can do for fundraising. You guys know my predisposition, I cannot do everything. But I think we are missing out big on these local festivals and events. For example, at the Chili Cookoff I got two bowls of Chili for Becky and I which cost $4 a piece. That table, which was the only one I saw selling by the bowl, was making money hand over fist. Understand that you have to provide samples for the crowd, enough for everyone if you want a chance at winning the Cookoff. Think about the positive public relations (using the Fire Safety House), and the profit that could be made from food and drink sales. There are plenty of other events for us to do this as well. Oktoberfest, Festival in the park, Blueridge Festival and BBQ Cookoff, St. Patricks Day Celebration, etc. It seems as though we are all in the idea stage. It will be interesting to see what ideas actually take shape.

After all, the more the Public sees you out and about at events and doing positive public relations, the better chances we have of getting what we need (pay, benefits, equipment).

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