First Friday and Town Chili / Beer Fest5 min read
On Friday, I attended the usual First Fridays open forum with the Town Trustees. However, this time was a very different format than usual. While First Friday was traditionally held in the morning over coffee, over the last few months, the Trustees have experimented with doing every other session over happy hour instead. Friday’s session was also unique in that all the candidates for Mayor and Trustee were invited to join. Only a few other candidates have ever attended First Friday, so this was a great chance for regular First Friday attendees to meet the candidates on the ballot this fall. Instead of one big roundtable discussion, Friday’s session was more of a general happy hour, and I really enjoyed getting to mingle, catch up with old friends, and meet some new neighbors that I’m looking forward to getting to know better.
Since there wasn’t one big discussion, I don’t have a full report on what people discussed, but in my own conversations, there was a lot of talk around the closure of 88th and Weldona, which had gone into effect that morning. Opinions are still mixed on this topic, and I even received a blog comment that someone started OpenWeldona.com to try to contest the Board’s decision to close 88th / Weldona. Unfortunately, the person who commented used a fake name and email address so I’m unable to contact them to listen and learn more (although I did reply to the comment, urging them to get in touch with me directly rather than remaining anonymous).
Saturday dawned bright and sunny, which was wonderful for the Town Beer and Chili Fest, one of my absolute favorite days of the year in Superior. This year, rather than enjoying the tastings from the various breweries, I set up a booth to meet citizens at the Chili Fest. While typically candidates hand out branded swag, I hate the idea of wasting money on something that will be quickly thrown away and generate waste. So, I chose to set up a digital photo booth using an app that I customized on my tablet.
Kids and adults alike enjoyed sorting through the props and coming up with funny costume combos poses for the pictures – check out the hilarious shots from our own Trustee Mark Lacis at the right. I was proud that my low cost solution was such a hit, and I’ve been invited to bring the photo booth back for Sammy’s Family Fun Run, a 5K in Community Park on September 30th that raises money for the Samantha Remington Angel Heart Foundation. I think this photo booth is a great example of what our town can do to create events and build community without incurring huge cost, and I’m looking forward to figuring out more creative ways to bring us all together without spending a lot of money.
I spent the day Sunday meeting with residents to discuss more ideas to improve our little town, and I’m really excited by what I’m hearing. My third meeting of the day was with an experienced engineer and Superior resident who has shared with me some ideas on how we can make our Town meetings more accessible to the general public – exactly in line with what I have been trying to achieve with these blog recaps. I’m really excited to partner with him and share a demo with you in a few weeks. Stay tuned!
My final meeting of the day was with a member of our CAPS Committee, Debbie Yeats. We sat down for a coffee meeting that ended up running 2.5 hours as we both bubbled over with ideas to build community by focusing on providing unique experiences for our residents. Customer experience is my area of expertise at my full-time job as a management consultant for PwC, and I’m very excited to apply my learnings from a decade of working with corporate clients to improve our town. There is so much research on social psychology and how it can be applied to governmental planning to improve the lives of residence. If you’re interested to learn more, check out Happy City by Charles Montgomery – a seminal work in this space. For my own edification, I will be attending the Smart Cities Symposium in Denver next Tuesday, and am excited to share what I learn there with all of you.
Between First Fridays, the Chili Fest, and my meetings with residents on Sunday, I am so impressed with the talent we have in this town. We are an extremely well-educated, smart, and creative community. I’m really excited to see what happens when we can more effectively engage the individual talents of our residents and apply them to making our Town one of the best in the country. (I might argue that it is already, but there is also a lot we can do to make it even better!)
Coming up this week: tonight is the Town Board Work Session and Town Board Meeting, and tomorrow night is the Candidates Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. The Candidates Forum is a great opportunity for you to meet all of the candidates for Mayor and Trustee and see us engage in a Q&A that will let you understand our opinions and qualifications. If you’re able, I would highly recommend coming out to Town Hall to attend, or, watch the live video feed on local channel 8 on TV, or online (video links here). The video from the Candidates Forum will also be posted on the Town website just like any other meeting, so those of you with commitments at this time can watch it at a later date.
Beyond the meetings at Town Hall tonight and tomorrow, there are a lot of other things going on in the next few weeks, and my calendar is pretty full! Check it out here on here on my events page, and I hope that many of you will come out to meet me in person so that I’m not just a blogger behind a screen 🙂 If events aren’t your thing, I’d also love to sit down one-on-one to get to know you and hear your ideas and concerns for our community – drop me a note here and we can figure out a meeting day and time.
Have a great week!