|There may soon be fewer signs stuck in the ground announcing a local event. Organizers of local events and attractions, stage productions and festivals, gathered to discuss the possibility of banding together to announce their events in a neater, more organized and visitor-friendly manner. Their hope is to have a uniform sign system that will let the public know where and when an event is happening, but without the many versions of yard sign now used to attract a crowd.
For well over a year, those who produce events and festivals, stage performances and exhibits or manage attractions have been meeting in a loosely organized group called InTown. The organization came about when the groups saw a mutual need to band together for promotional purposes. They are still attempting to launch a joint promotional printed piece but, in the mean time, have found many areas of discussion among themselves.
As often happens when such a group of like-minded people get together, they begin to talk about their individual projects and share schedule dates to avoid duplication or to join together for an even better event. They also share concerns such as downtown parking availability. Other issues have been the sharing of production equipment.
Groups are working together to raise funds for each other. Last weekend, Sorg Opera, Lyric Theater and Rising Phoenix all benefitted from the Love Letters dinner/theatre performance at the Manchester Inn. Upcoming on May 7, the dress rehearsal performance of Steel Magnolias, being staged by Rising Phoenix Theatre, will benefit the Middletown Mural project. The Sorg Opera Company performed at Middfest last fall. Recently, Lyric Theatre helped raise funds for Sorg Opera. An upcoming exhibit called Downtown Middletown is being staged by Middletown Historical Society at Middletown Arts Center. And, a community calendar is being compiled to help organizations schedule events to avoid competitions and/or arrange events that draw audiences for two or more events happening on the same date.
More and more issues of joint concern are being found among the group which will to continue to meet as issues of mutual interest arise.
Sam Ashworth, who originally called the group together and acts as its meeting director, said, “ Collaboration among organizations is always healthy and the collaborations within this group have proven very successful.”
A recent gathering of the group at the Middletown Historical Society building on S. Main Street allowed members representing 15 different groups and events to exchange ideas and help each other find solutions to problems ranging from the need for food vendors to space limitations at a festival site. While there is no set membership or meeting schedule, those interested in joining the group at future meetings may contact Ann Mort at 424-2038 (Rmort@cinci.rr.com)
Story contributed by Ann Mort