For USA citizens, the 4th of July is a widely celebrated holiday, commemorating ratification of the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. For today’s post, it seemed appropriate to take a look at the intersection of July Fourth and events wrangling.
While very few Americans will be thinking about events wrangling today, it’s worthwhile to take a brief look at five possible patriotic scenarios that could be on events wranglers’ minds on the 4th.
- Relax, enjoy, and celebrate.
- Events wrangling for celebration with family or friends.
- Events wrangling for a local civic or organizational celebration.
- Events wrangling for a major regional or national celebration.
- Future Fourth ideas.
Relax, Enjoy, Celebrate
On July 4, 2016, most events wranglers in the good old US of A are likely just enjoying a low-key celebration with family or friends. Making memories. Recalling past Fourths. Looking forward to the fireworks. Wearing, eating, drinking, or just looking at red, white and blue things. Maybe you’re at a BBQ or participating in a potluck.
However…because your job is not a 9-to-5 M-F occupation, I know a few of you are on your smartphones, texting, emailing, and doing other electronic activities related to a future or past event. Getting information, responding to requests for help, promoting your events on social media, and working on a myriad of other job-related issues (for which you are, naturally, not really getting paid…). STOP THAT RIGHT NOW! Turn it off. Unplug. Live in the moment.
That’s all that really needs to be said about the relax-enjoy-celebrate scenario. Experience today as a restful and re-creational holiday! 🙂
Wrangling Celebration With Family Or Friends
Others of you may be at a gathering of extended family or a large group of friends in events wrangler mode because you volunteered or were recruited to lend your particular skills to the informal celebration.
A small percentage of you are regretting getting involved in today’s festivities because the usual stressful aspects of your day-job are rearing their ugly heads… Unrealistic expectations for a limited budget, last minute changes, uncontrollable factors like weather, bugs, personal issues, emotional conflicts, etc.
But most of you wrangling your low-key event with people you like or love are probably enjoying the day just as much as if you weren’t at least partly responsible for how the day turns out. Your July 4th celebration is such a breeze compared to most events that it makes you start remembering all the reasons you love being an events wrangler!
Wrangling Local Civic Or Organizational Celebration
Being a chief wrangler or handling high-visibility aspects of a local civic or organizational July 4th event can be a big boost for your reputation or your local business. If it’s the first time you’ve done something like this, good luck! Spend the rest of the day working hard to ensure your event goes as well as possible. (You can sleep in and recuperate tomorrow. Maybe…)
As I’ve stressed in some of my other Events Wrangling posts, remember to have part of your focus on storytelling and video. Capture as many of the day’s memories as possible in words, in audio and video, in photographs, and on social media. Today’s moments only happen once a year — and some of them may be once in a lifetime. Like the huge family gathering many years ago on the 4th of July when my Mom and Dad celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on the same day as my Dad’s parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!
Wrangling Major Regional Or National Celebration
Color me red, white and blue-impressed if you’re events wrangling on a major regional or national July Fourth celebration. I tip my Uncle Sam hat to you! You’ll be making the day special for hundreds or thousands of people!
If it’s your first major Fourth, I hope you have several people assigned to documenting the day. Because it will probably all be a blur to you. You’ll be hurrying to and fro, making sure This is taken care of, checking on whether That is all set to start on time, wondering What will go wrong next… It will be important for you to have those pictures, videos, and news accounts of the event so you can see, through others’ eyes, what happened. And tomorrow morning you should make a list of what you remember as the highlights of your day. A year or two from now, you’ll have a blast looking back at what your vision of today was versus what was seen, experienced and captured by others!
Future Fourth Ideas
If you’re not doing much of anything special today and feeling restless or professionally unfulfilled because of that, here are a couple of ideas to consider for next year’s July 4th holiday.
- Photo Walk. — Organize a photo walk for a group of family members, friends, or photographers. Take pictures of people enjoying the Fourth, capture unique decorations or unusual red, white and blue items. Create an online album. Build a pop-up July 4th website. Flood an Instagram account with scenes you see as you walk around. You can make it low key, you can have an informal competition, you can design a structured challenge, or you can create the inaugural instance of a long running tradition. Here are a few tips for your photo walk, and you can find many more resources online to help with your event.
- Local Multi-site Celebration. — To raise the bar for your event, find out what other July 4th activities are planned in your area. Those could be family festivities, neighborhood happenings, civic celebrations, and whatever other types of July 4th fun you can discover. Contact the organizers of those events and see if a few of them want to coordinate events. I don’t have anything specific in mind here. Just an opportunity to try something new. Something enabled by the internet. An experimental event that might be really cool or an experience you don’t want to repeat. For both this local multi-site celebration and for the next item, a multi-city celebration, I’m thinking one aspect of it would be dreaming up ways to do hybrid events.
- National Multi-city Celebration. — This is essentially the same concept as the previous multi-site local celebration except that it’s more ambitious, with greater possibility and increased risk. Not to mention a bigger budget. Figure out a good reason for July 4th celebrations in different cities to work together on their holiday activities. An easy starting point would be for two sister cities to do a joint civic celebration. Another straightforward multi-city idea is for an organization with operations in several cities to coordinate organizational Fourth festivities. One example of that would be for the Knight Foundation to have some type of July 4th collaborative journalism event in the 26 communities where the Knight brothers once owned newspapers. Since they do lots of grants, possibly they could do one for a collaborative Fourth. Maybe Google or another tech / internet company could do a patriotic online extravaganza that connects their various offices or communities around the country.
- 4th of July Patriotic Creativity Challenge. — This one’s my favorite Future Fourth idea, I think. Create a new tradition, or at least organize something that could become a tradition. Dream up a creativity challenge for a July 4th gathering, sort of like a chili cook-off or a hackathon competition. Identify categories for the challenge, including food, drinks, decorations, entertainment/games, photos, essays, short stories, artwork, etc. You could do the informal Friends & Family route, or you could go all professional and over-the-top and get sponsors, cash prizes, and media coverage. I’m not aware of anything like this, so either past similar events have been low key and not highlighted by mainstream media, or I just don’t remember hearing about them. If you figure out a unique twist or hook, you could develop this into something you’ll want to do more than once…
Ooops…I just realized I overlooked the opportunity to talk about or include pictures of Wrangler red, white, and blue jeans, RWB Jeep Wranglers, and 4th of July rodeo wranglers. Next year’s post, maybe.
Well, that’s more than enough rambling about today. Enjoy the rest of your day and have a fun Fourth! 🙂