It's hard to believe it's over! Now is the time to evaluate and sift through all the comments and data we have and determine how successful the festival was to the community. Measuring the success of the Redenbacher Popcorn Festival can be done in many ways. Although, counting the number of attendees would be the best way, it's hard to determine without counters or aerial picture counts of the festival's activities. It could be safe to say, it was in the thousands. However, putting that unscientific guestimation to rest, there are other ways to look at the success in ways that we all can understand and appreciate.
Comments indicated success
Counting the number of verbal and written comments received by the Popcorn Festival crew is one way to measure our success. When 99.5 percent of the vendors that were present this year decided to sign-up for next year's Popcorn Festival; that was a sign of success.
When we had to turn down vendors prior to the festival plus we signed on 40 vendors during the festival for next year; that was a good sign of being successful. Janie Krecker, Nancy Withers, and Rose Mary Price stated the best sign of success they saw was when the vendors, who got FREE both space this year, ended up donating all or part of their $50 deposit back to the Vendor Committee for next year's Festival. Additionally, the comments from the vendor questionnaires were all positive except for one minor negative comment. Our vendor committee was rated by most vendors as the best they have ever worked with. They were well-organized, had spaces already laid out, and they resolved concerns as those happened.
Choice of carnival and entertainment praised
Compliments came from those who attended and stopped by the Popcorn House to tell us how they liked the festival. Several hundred people had told members throughout the festival that they liked the idea of the festival and how much fun it was for almost any age group that attended. From the Turkey Shoot to the Postcard Exhibition at the Historical Society to the Mid-American Carnival; it was all positive. One of our biggest compliments was the choice of Mid-America Carnivals and the Tribute Band-The Beatles. But we don't want to minimize anything because the Rock Climb, K-Day parade, pancake breakfast, Victorian Ball, Quarter Midget Racing, Softball Games, Weight Lifting, etc. played just as big of a hit as anything.
Not one thing on the agenda was left out as not contributing to the festival.
Ironically, it was even more special when 3 couples from Athens, Ga., Wooster, Ohio, and Flint, Mich., saw the festival billboards on the interstate and stopped by to attend. All three couples stopped at the Popcorn House to talk and compliment the community on the festival.
Another guest who was a surprise to us stopped at the Popcorn House and really perked our ears. He was the president of the Casey, Ill., Popcorn Festival.
He was very impressed with our first annual Festival and gave us rave reviews. He couldn't believe the quality put into the festival and carnival in less than 1 year compared to their Festival that was in its 17th year. He couldn't believe his eyes. Overall, comments were positive except for one major complaint-- where's the popcorn?
Popcorn available next year
The Festival Committee promises that next year they will have popcorn-- some free and some that will cost. Due to the time in getting this Festival together, most of the popcorn vendors had committed to other festivals. We also wanted to make sure that we didn't infringe upon groups that sell popcorn for a profit.
Intangibles also measure success
What are other ways to measure success of a festival? It's looking at the smiles on the children, or happiness of the parents knowing the rides are safe and clean. It's watching people enjoying a hot dog or eating pancakes. For us, it's also looking at the volunteers who came on board this year and are volunteering for next year.
Two volunteers, Jan and Stephen Stapp, were able to help run the Popcorn House to provide relief for other Festival members.
We had two gentlemen who helped us set up vendors on both days. We had one person who helped us pick up trash. It was wonderful to see community involvement. These things are ways that people make it successful and they see the potential for this Festival's growth and wanted to be a part of its first year.
Many organizations came on board
We look at success in how the businesses, non-profit and profit organizations, and clubs helped through donations, providing meals, and advertisements. We can't begin to tell how important the role that media such as newspapers, TV, radio stations, billboards, etc. played into the success of this festival. It was phenomenal how media worked together to make this work for us. Success is a vendor who sold more popcorn during the festival than they did all year, or when a vendor who raised money to repair its roof, or when other vendors run out of food due to customers buying. These are ways to look at success.
Family pleased with festival as memorial to Redenbacher
According to Orville's daughter Gail Redenbacher Tuminello and granddaughters Pam Bertoli and Julie Gallant, they were happy that their father and grandfather had been honored in a way that would have pleased him very much. When they accepted our invitation to be honored guests of the Popcorn Festival and grand marshals in the parade, we were pleased. When they agreed to stay in touch in the coming year and be active in the next year's events; that