Part Three: An Event Apart
The night before Create Day, after setting up, toasting a beer and then going home, none of us could sleep. When we met the next morning to hit the ground running, the team all expressed their nervous excitement, combined with lack of sleep, but agreed that it was all overshadowed with pulsing adrenalin. We were here, on the edge of Create Day. In the words of famous creative, Kevin McCallister, from Home Alone, “This is it, don’t get scared now.”
The Crew Comes with Thy Energy
We got to The Kelsey Theater early, asking all the instructors to arrive by 10:30am, considering the doors would be open at 11:30am, and that would give them an hour to set up and give us time to react to any monkey wrenches thrown into the plan.
Set up went well. We put out the first run of food, dumped out the Legos, turned on the typewriter and tested it. We hung the community canvas, laid out the markers, paints and paint brushes. We did a soundcheck, and then the instructors started rolling in to set up their wise workshops with infectious energy. One instructor was missing, but a few phone calls revealed they would be a little late, and that was okay because it was one of the most experienced at teaching the skill.
In all honesty, the setup went well. Maybe it was because we did so much work during the days leading up and the night before. Maybe it was because we got lucky with very professional instructors who knew more than we did. Either way, doors were about to open and we were in good spirits.
The Crowd Hath Arrived
While we were loading in instructors through the back door, a crowd starting to swell outside the front doors. It was mind-blowing to see our well intents piling up in the form of actual human beings. We kept watching the crowd grow, pinching ourselves.
Once we unlocked the doors, and the flood of excited people started entering, their smiling and eager faces assured us Create Day was doing something right. That moment cannot be fully expressed as it was both rewarding and difficult due to the mass moving toward us. There were two or three waves of people in the span of that opening hour. Getting everyone signed in, one by one, is something we will have to adjust at the next possible Create Day.
Registered participants going through the door, we gave a peak inside and saw people eating snacks, signing up for workshops, and already lining up for the screen printing experience. That’s when we took to the stage to address the crowd, go over the run-of things one more time, and most importantly thank sponsors and instructors. We couldn’t help but to give each other looks, like here we are, all our hard work has led to this moment.
If You Build It, They Will Come (and Create)
Watching all those people (about 120, give or take) all entranced in creativity, all wearing their Create Day aprons, was the highlight of all the planning, the reward for the stress of the instructors that dropped out, the curveballs of trying to find everything we needed, and the mental takeover that comes with planning an event like this.
It was a sea of smiles and busy (dirty) hands. They were painting swans, sculpting volcanoes out of cupcake frosting into, turning flowers into crowns, chomping at the bits to learn calligraphy and hand lettering, chalking flamingoes, beading bracelets, drinking, eating, and having a great time.
As a team, we made it a point to walk around, talk to people, feel out the crowd, and see if the instructors needed anything. One thing that kept coming up was that even the instructors wanted to participate. That says a lot about how fun and exciting the event seemed to those involved.
Each workshop had wonderful take-home artifacts, and participants kept coming up to us, exclaiming “I can’t believe this event is free!” There was even a birthday party in the house. We couldn’t believe someone chose to celebrate their birthday at an event which we created on a whim with coloring book pages and paper airplanes. However, can you think of a better way to honor your birthday or a friend’s birthday than at a unique and free event? We sure can’t!
The sense of success was not just ours; it was theirs, yours, everyone in the crowd who took off of work, decided to take a break from life just to get their hands dirty. Everyone at Create Day owns a little bit of that can’t-believe-it feeling. And that’s exactly what we set out to accomplish. It is inspiration in tangible, human form. Plus, it was great to watch those aprons get dirty.
The Day Makes the Reward
It seems like a mirage, a blur. Aside from the musician being a little loud and some cupcake icing separating in the morning, everything went off without a hitch. We wish we could rant and rave about how, behind the scenes, there were so many technical difficulties. But there weren’t. Our friends and family who attended were in awe of the event. It is one thing to listen to your friend or spouse come home and talk about what they are working on day in and day out, it is another thing entirely to actually be in it.
As the event started to wind down, and folks could barely carry all their take-away items, we thanked the crowd, The Kelsey Theater, the instructors and the sponsors profusely. We will also thank you here. We could not have done it without your trust and support. It was tiring, but well worth it, and taught us a thing or ten along the way.
It took us an hour or so to clean up the creative evidence. Post hoc, we held an after party next-door at The Brewhouse Gallery. When our team entered, the entire place gave us a round of applause.
The next and final installment of our look-back on Create Day will follow soon. Stay tuned.