4th of July & Events Wranglers

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.

4th of julyWhile 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.

  1. Relax, enjoy, and celebrate.
  2. Events wrangling for celebration with family or friends.
  3. Events wrangling for a local civic or organizational celebration.
  4. Events wrangling for a major regional or national celebration.
  5. Future Fourth ideas.

Relax, Enjoy, Celebrate

american flagOn 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.

hydra multi head monsterA 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…)

Waldron 25th and 50th July 4th

Waldron 4th of July Gold/Silver Wedding Anniversary

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

uncle sam hat tipColor 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 walkPhoto 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.
  • red white blue food4th 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! 🙂

flag and fireworks


Potlucks & Events Wranglers

Potlucks & Barbecues

I did a previous post about barbecues, and in yesterday’s post I mentioned meeting neighbors through a real world event. I’ll address both those issues in a bit. But first, let’s start with a definition for potluck.

potluck foodA potluck is a gathering where each guest contributes a dish of food that is to be shared…The word pot-luck appears in the 16th century English work of Thomas Nashe, and used to mean “food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest, the luck of the pot.” The sense “communal meal, where guests bring their own food,” appears to have originated in the late 19th century or early 20th century, particularly in Western North America, either by influence from potlatch or possibly by extension of traditional sense of “luck of the pot.

Getting back to my BBQ post, how are BBQs and potlucks related?

  • bbqBBQs can include potluck food sharing.
  • Barbecued or grilled meat isn’t necessarily the central aspect of a potluck.
  • BBQs are usually outdoor events; potlucks are more evenly distributed between outdoor and indoor.
  • Either can happen anytime during the year, but BBQs are traditionally associated with summer.
  • BBQs generally have more central planning and financial aspects because of the main course meat(s).

Potlucks & Events Wranglers

I'll do itNow here’s where the events wrangler aspect comes in:

Potlucks will only happen if an amateur or professional events wrangler gets involved. To get the ball rolling takes that one person who sees value in the event and says, “we’re gonna do this!” Then an events wrangler, who may or may not have been the one to suggest the potluck, has to make it happen. A tradition of having potlucks can be established, and this will assist in repeat performances — if the first one is successful…

Even in an environment where potlucks have been done in the past, such as a church congregation which has had multiple potlucks each year, it still takes someone to lead the charge. We had a potluck brunch after church two weeks ago. But it didn’t just magically happen. One person, an initiator, had to say, “let’s do a potluck.” Then an events wrangler, either the initiator or someone else, had to lead the organizing and putting on of that church potluck. And it was delicious and fun — thanks, Carey! 🙂

Potlucks & Neighbors

potluck, neighborsRegarding meeting the neighbors, potlucks can be a great ad hoc way to welcome a new person or family to the neighborhood, or they can be annual events which provide an opportunity to meet new neighbors and to re-meet neighbors you don’t frequently interact with. If you’ve got some new neighbors, maybe you should organize an informal potluck to welcome them to the neighborhood. If you’re the new kid on the block, get to know one or a couple neighbors, then discuss the idea of a potluck as something you think would be a fun event to help plan. If one of your neighbors agrees, helping organize and put on the event might be the best way possible for you to get to know others living around you.

Potlucks are pretty much a real-life event, but here’s a cyberspace question for you:

Because it’s difficult to share food with the virtual neighbors discussed in yesterday’s post, can you think of any ways to do something along the lines of a “virtual potluck” that you’d be the events wrangler for if you connect with neighbors you’d want to invite to such a potluck?

To wrap up today’s post, ask yourself these three questions:potluck

  1. If you’ve been to a potluck before, was it a good use of your time and energy?
  2. If you’ve never been to a potluck before, does it sound like something you’d like to do?
  3. If your answer to either the first or second question was yes, when are you going to start finding people to help you organize a potluck in the near future?


If you’re interested in organizing a potluck and haven’t done that before, use Google to search for answers to specific questions you have about doing potlucks. And get at least one co-organizer to help you. Below is a bit of background info and sources of potluck inspiration!

Reasons For Potlucks

There are lots of reasons for having potlucks, including:

  • Central event of a fun social gathering, like a block party or just a get-together for a group of friends.
  • Minimizing centralized food organization and expense for events.
    • Reunions or other large family gatherings.
    • BarCamps and other participant-driven events.
    • Church congregation gatherings.
    • Annual event for many organizations.
  • Optimizing personal or family meal preparation and variety.
  • Building or strengthening relationships and trust.
    • Connecting a neighborhood or starting a neighborhood association.
    • Starting a goods and services sharing group.
    • Starting a dinner co-op (sort of a recursive or seed potluck…).

18 Online Sources Of Potluck Inspiration

The public is invited to Pequot Library’s Great Lawn on Friday, June 10, starting at 6:30 p.m. for the 11th Annual Potluck, Outdoor Concert, and Campout…This favorite, traditional community event on Pequot Library’s one-of-a-kind Great Lawn is free and open to all. Potluck Supper begins at 6:30 p.m…Stay until 9 p.m. for The Big Pillow Fight and families are invited to pitch their tents and camp out all night… http://www.minutemannewscenter.com/articles/2016/06/10/entertainment/doc5756e1fb953e3709782335.txt

A meal with the neighbors — One Wednesday of every summer month, Carolyn Supinger and her neighbors come together to organize a community-based potluck…As neighbor Bill Bibbler said, “If it wasn’t for Carolyn this wouldn’t have happened…“It all really started with heirloom tomatoes,” said Supinger. Her husband was sure no one had ever tasted this unique variety of tomato…they invited all of their neighbors over to try it…

Hawai‘i Farmers Union United…is presenting its monthly locavore potluck…at Mill House Restaurant at Maui Tropical Plantation. This month’s featured chef is Kyle Kawakami of Maui Fresh Streatery, voted “Best Food Truck”…Kawakami will prepare a dish using a canoe crop, hemp seeds and moringa…The evening will also include a produce swap, a farmers market table, prize giveaways, networking and more…

It’s Food Forward’s mission to not let such fruit go to waste..since he started the group…with a simple backyard pick, it has grown into an energized urban food-gleaning organization…It also mobilizes teams at…farmers’ markets, consolidating all produce that farmers don’t want to take back with them…putting up flyers on the surrounding Starbucks community boards announcing a pick and a potluck…

Actress Shailene Woodley will be stumping for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during a “Potluck For Bernie” event Tuesday night in her hometown of Simi Valley. Woodley has been traveling up and down the coast…The RV tour has been a grass-roots effort by the three actors and is not officially part of the Sanders campaign…

Farm Potluck at Mountain Bounty Farm — Mountain Bounty is a beautiful 50-acre farm, offering the oldest and longest running CSA in Nevada County! Join John Tecklin and Angie Tomey for this Mountain Bounty Farm potluck!…Farmer John will have some pre-packed CSA boxes for sale so you can get a taste of what it’s like to receive a fresh box of veggies every week!…We’ll circle up for dinner at 6pm…

Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors — Whether you live on a quiet cul-de-sac or a busy street, it’s important to get to know your neighbors to build a sense of community. Hanging out with neighborhood friends is also a wonderfully convenient pastime – no car, travel or reservations required! Take advantage of the…warm weather and organize an old-fashioned block party…a collaborative potluck party or an outdoor game night… 

Building community for long-term prosperity …There is no clear path to building a strong community. Different nuances, different people…will all lead down a different path, but there are some common ideas that can be used to develop your…town into the community that you would like it to be…Here are some of the potential ways that you can work to build community…# 20. Throw a block party, community BBQ or potluck…

A free, block party in the Cariboo Heights neighbourhood…Highlights include: Free hotdogs…popcorn, face painting…refreshments and mingling with neighbours. It’s a potluck, so bring a dish to share…The main reason you should go is to meet your neighbours. The Vancouver Foundation conducted a study…and found the most pressing concern among Lower Mainland residents was a growing sense of isolation…

No matter how many times we make a menu…and plan ahead, there are going to be days…when we just can’t get it together to make a healthy meal for dinner…I’ve found a different solution: neighborhood dinner swaps. Think of neighborhood dinner swaps like the neighborhood potlucks…Another way you can structure your dinner swap is to collaborate with several neighbors, say three other families…
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/23/dining/23coop.html  http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/how-to-create-a-dinner-co-op/

There is a powerful social aspect to sharing…sharing works even better with three, five, ten or even 50 people all sharing in group format. Sharing is social…Call it trust-building. Trust-building is best accomplished face to face…Hosting a potluck is a great way to start a neighborhood sharing group…The potluck is an iconic community gathering experience that symbolically reinforces the idea of sharing…

Our [Neighborhood Association] Annual Potluck Picnic is right around the corner…We had such a blast last year we’re doing it again so, come join us, enjoy some music and good food and meet your neighbors. In fact, bring a neighbor or two with you!…Last year you took the word “potluck” to heart. We had so many wonderful side dishes I wonder what we’ll get to taste this year! Please bring a side dish to share with 5-10 of your neighbors…

The Pollinator Potluck…featured oven-fresh pizza, fine wine, and an educational speech about the value of public gardens to migratory birds. In its second year, the Greenwich Garden Club (GGC) is using potlucks to bolster a sense of community….we thought the potluck was the best way to not have to charge for something, and everybody brings the beverages, the food, and it’s just a real community gathering…

It was a potluck dinner unlike any P.E.I. had likely seen before: no meat, no cheese — not even any honey — were allowed in any of the dishes, because they were all vegan…60 people showed up Monday to the first monthly vegan potluck…The 23-year-old vegan said she thought the dinner would attract about 30 people…”I’ve been wanting to get a sense of the vegan community on P.E.I. — finding each other was the issue…

People of all ages, races and religions were invited to enjoy a potluck dinner at First Christian Church…The catch, people had to bring a dish representing their culture, and people couldn’t sit by anyone they already knew. “It’s been a rewarding experience for me to just see the different culture aspects…Hands Across the Table for Racial Healing focused on getting to know different types of people by breaking bread and asking questions…

Vineyard Voyagers, Inc…will host a film screening, potluck, and presentation of new projects on Sunday…The film explores the concept of “nature deficit disorder” in an age of technology and “stranger danger,” while examining the impact of outdoor activity on the health and development of toddlers, children, and adolescents…the gathering will include a zero-waste potluck meal…

Potlucks are cropping up everywhere these days in a resurgence of popularity and it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Who would not enjoy an event where there are so many dishes to choose from?…The lure of potlucks is that people love to share their favorite dishes and in fact, I’ve tasted some of the best foods I have ever had at these gatherings. Plus I have gained the bonus of learning some new cooking tricks from fellow contributors…

The California City Arts Commission is sponsoring a drum circle and potluck to celebrate the Summer Solstice on Monday, June 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. The public is invited to attend and bring drums, rattles, singing bowls and/or their best voice or share available percussion to help raise a cone of positive energy and celebrate the spring equinox… http://www.tehachapinews.com/lifestyle/2016/06/03/pot-luck-drum-circle-to-celebrate-summer-solstice.html