Before we go any further, let’s look at the critical issue here… the all-too-frequent practice of calling an event the “First Annual.” In addition to the use of “seen” instead of “saw,” wordsmiths silently seethe at the use of “First Annual” rather than the more appropriate “Inaugural” to designate the initial occurrence of an event… regardless of whether or not that event ever happens again. If, in fact, there is a second episode, then you can include the reference to “annual.”
With that off my chest, let’s look at some recent inaugural events, which may or may not become annual.
Souper Agent Stockpot Cook Off – October 27th
When they weren’t showing homes, local realtors Kellie Hillier-Genschaw, Stephanie Jones, and Ben Argall sat down and came up with the idea of competitive cooking… for a cause. According to Hillier-Genschaw, “We were looking for a way to get other realtors involved in a community fundraiser that would make a difference right here in Marquette County and came up with the idea.”
The idea was for local home-hawkers to bring their best crockpot creations to the Masonic ball room (pictured above) to see who best knew how to use a kitchen, and not just sell one.
When I heard of this, my first thought was… a cluster of competitive realtors, all in the same room? How would that work?
Well… it worked. “We have an amazing bunch of realtors in our area. I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years and with this great group of professionals, we knew we could pull it off,” Hillier-Genschaw said.
And though it was fun and filling, there was a charitable angle too. Proceeds were all donated to the TV6 Canathon. According to the organizers, they collected $1,300 in cash and more than 3,000 pounds of food.
Hillier-Genschaw says they’re definitely doing it again. And they’re going to keep the event beneficiary exclusive to the Canathon. “1 out 6 people goes hungry in our area – we thought by doing this we could make a real difference.”
Camp Cannabis – October 7th and 8th
A cool weekend in October saw the first-of-its-kind licensed cannabis consumption event in the area… the Fire Station’s Camp Cannabis music festival.
Five years ago, the idea of thousands of doobie-doers gathering at Tourist Park to enjoy the ethereal delights of legal weed would have been nothing more than a pipe dream. But, things change, and the Fire Station folks, along with a number of vendors and sponsors, came together to educate and celebrate, with a program full of Mary Jane and music.
With this being a “first ever” event, Fire Station Director of Marketing Kelsey Potes says they weren’t sure of what to expect but were very pleased with the results. “Our attendees shared so much positive feedback with our staff both during and following the event. People were impressed with the event’s organization, the scope of activities and entertainment available all weekend long, and the variety of vendors on site. They also recognized and appreciated the efforts Camp Cannabis made toward cannabis de-stigmatization.”
So… will there be a 2nd Annual Camp Cannabis? According to Potes, “We are still in the process of surveying attendees and gathering feedback from the event. We have not made a decision yet as to whether or not we will host Camp Cannabis again in 2023.”
“If we were to do the event again, we would hope to be able to host it in a warmer month. As the ordinance is now, we were only permitted to use Tourist Park in either May or October.”
Additional details on the event can be found in this recap post on their website.
The Inaugural Stand U.P Comedy Festival – November 3rd, 4th, and 5th.
First, following today’s theme, let’s credit event organizers Rick Rhoades, Vincent Shultz, and Bryan Sromalski for calling it the “Inaugural” edition. Bless you boys.
Looking over our yearly event schedule, we already have festivals based on blues music, craft beer, traditional music, cannabis, and any number of outdoor and athletic related celebrations.
So it took someone like Rick Rhoades (who would rather be working the clubs as a stand-up comedian if he weren’t General Manager of TV6) and a couple of fellow humorphiles to bring this event to fruition.
And, more credit to them, they didn’t start small. Three nights of performances with six total shows featuring no fewer than 12 nationally recognized comedians, as well as a handful of locals, filled the schedule. The event took place at the Ore Dock and drew almost twice as many people as the organizers had hoped for.
Attendees were overwhelmingly impressed with the quality of the performances, and why not? Local comedy shows regularly do well. Put a festival together featuring some of today’s best touring comics in the welcoming atmosphere of the Ore Dock’s community room and you’ve got the makings a real hoot!
As I usually do, I wondered what the journeying jokesters thought of their Marquette experience. “They loved it,” said Rhoades. “The comedians were treated like royalty and they commented on that. They appreciated the large responsive crowds and how we promoted the event.”
With the event being both a critical and financial success, I asked Rhoades about the prospect of it happening again next year. “Yes, this will be an annual event. We’re exploring bringing in a really big act to headline the entire festival. We will also be exploring expanding to multiple venues across the region.” And in typical TV talk, Rhoades wrapped it up saying… “To be continued.”
Kudos to our local go-getters for go-getting out on a limb and trying something that hadn’t been tried before. Sleepless nights usually precede events like these, especially when there are dollars involved.
Thankfully, these three events were all successful on one level or another, and hopefully we see them all again for a 2nd Annual.