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5 Festivals That Celebrate The Weird

We had a chance to talk about Spring Festivals last week but there are thousands of other festivals we didn’t get to mention. While doing research, we found some really unique events that were too weird/bizarre/curious/fun that it felt like a shame not to include them. If a lovely Spring festival is a little too tame for your taste, here are some bizarre festivals that might satisfy your need for the strange and unusual.


 

photo by Barbara Lawlor

photo by Barbara Lawlor

Frozen Dead Guy Days - Nederlander, CO

Maybe it’s the thin, Rocky Mountain air, but whatever it is, the residents of Nederlander, CO put on one of the most bizarre festivals every March. Salmon tosses, coffin races, and turkey bowling are just a few of the festivities. Between twisted events there’s food, live music, and macabre delights at every turn.


 

Elvis Week

Are thousands of Elvises too many Elvises? If you’re a fan of Graceland’s Elvis Week - then there’s no such thing as “too many”. This 10-day event that celebrates “The King” attracts thousands of Elvis impersonators and casual fans alike, with live performances, dances, discussions and, of course, no shortage of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, thankyouverymuch.


 

Jesse Skoubo/Corvallis Gazette-Times

Jesse Skoubo/Corvallis Gazette-Times

DaVinci Days Festival - Kinetic Sculpture Races

This festival in Corvallis, Oregon combines art and engineering in a way that would make Leonardo DaVinci proud. One of the highlights of this three-day July event are the Kinetic Sculpture Races which is just as cool and terrifying as it sounds. Teams create elaborate human-powered vehicles that resemble everything from medieval mountain bikes to mythical dragons. Spectator costumes highly encouraged.


 

International Tuba Day

It’s hard being a Tuba in a woodwind world. Tuba players unite in Millersville, Pennsylvania every May in an event that’s part festival/part support group for thankless brass blowers everywhere. There’s great tuba music all around and the event is free - because tubas need love too, guys.


 

Spam Jam

Spam: the world’s favorite mystery meat. There’s no better place to celebrate the famous foodstuff than Waikiki, Hawaii - a well-known lover and consumer of the canned meat product (Hawaiians consume over 7 million cans a year - more than anywhere else in the world). Over 25,000 people come to the event every year and there’s no shortage of festivities, live music, and yes, Spam.


Christine Adams is a copywriter, honorary Atlanta native, lover of ugly animals, introvert dynamo, and frito pie enthusiast. Her work can be found on the internets without much trouble.

5 Must-See Spring Events

This winter has been especially rough for many of us (thanks A LOT, Punxsutawney Phil), but not to worry. Spring is coming, and with it, the triumphant return of festival season. Exploring new places is so much easier in good weather and to make sure you’re ready, we’ve compiled a list of some Spring festivals you can check out no matter where you are in the US. Some of these are big, some have more local flair, but there’s a little something for everybody.

 

The Dogwood Festival - Atlanta, GA - April 10-12th

Coinciding with the blooming of the Dogwood Tree (they’re everywhere around here), Atlanta hosts a festival to celebrate this popular plant in Piedmont Park. Foods on sticks, arts and crafts, and music make this a fun place to welcome the warmer weather.


 

Photo by Kiwanis Club of Little Havana

Photo by Kiwanis Club of Little Havana

Calle Ocho - Little Havana, Miami, FL - March 15th

Carnaval in Miami is a 10-day event filled with music, special events, and food from restaurants all over the city. Calle Ocho is the culmination of Carnaval and is a 23 block street festival in Miami’s Little Havana. There are over 30 stages of Latin music and this mother of all street fairs hosts almost a million people.


 

One Spark - Jacksonville, FL - April 8-12th

Think about Kickstarter. Now infuse food trucks, seminars, craft beers, and music. One Spark is a crowdfunding festival that helps entrepreneurs with big ideas get funding. The organizers wanted visitors to have that festival  environment, which makes this festival equal parts head and heart. They also wanted to cultivate a startup culture in their own backyard, throwing this in their hometown of Jacksonville rather than somewhere in Silicon Valley (and we can definitely relate to that). And there’s one more thing that makes OneSpark awesome: we’ll be there presenting Walkabout to the masses, so hit us up in the Barnett Bank.


 

Skagit Tulip Festival - Mount Vernon, Washington - April 1-30th

Mount Vernon in the Skagit Valley of Washington can put on quite the nature show with its blooming tulips oom every year. The beautiful sights attract visitors from all 50 states and 85 countries as the town explodes with color. Mother Nature is sometimes on her own schedule, especially when it comes to flowers, so we recommend checking the festival’s site regularly to make sure the tulips have opened up before you get there.


 

SXSW - Austin, TX - March 18-22nd

South by Southwest (SXSW) is one of the most anticipated festivals in the world, featuring world-renowned artists, a film festival, and a digital innovation conference. While it definitely isn’t cheap, SXSW is a bucket list event that needs to be checked out.


We hope we’ve inspired you to explore new places and destinations, and remember if you go to any of these festivals take lots of pictures and use the hashtag #dropyourpin.

Christine Adams is a copywriter, honorary Atlanta native, lover of ugly animals, introvert dynamo, and frito pie enthusiast. Her work can be found on the internets without much trouble.

Moving Target: 3 Clever Ways to Use Mobile To Secure Sponsorships

image via Wilfred Iven

image via Wilfred Iven

We’ve all been there. You finally get a key sponsor on the phone, only for them to ask if there’s anything new happening at the event this year. You do your best to keep things exciting and fresh for attendees and sponsors alike, but it can be hard to come up with new ways to keep existing sponsors excited and win new sponsors.

Fortunately, mobile technology offers a variety of fun and clever ways to pique the interests of sponsors, attendees, and vendors. Just about everyone has a smart phone in their pocket, so let’s get smart with how we engage them. We’ve put together 3 clever ways for you to make your next event pop, and target your next big time sponsor.

 

parade route

History/Art/Architecture/Food Walk
Sponsor Target: Local Fraternal Organization, Arts Council, Historical Society, Realtor, Local Restauranteur

 You’re always looking for a way to provide exciting events within your event, and there’s nothing simpler than curating a list of cool places and events for your attendees to visit. People love experiencing new things, so give them what they want all while giving a new sponsor an exciting digital venue to reach your audience. The best part? You don’t really have to do anything; get the sponsor to curate the list for you. They know their business better than you do, so let them show your audience a good time.

 

mystery location

Mysterious Scavenger Hunt
Sponsor Target: PTA, YMCA, Music Label, Shoe Company, Youth-Oriented Brand

 Let’s just say it; Teenagers are a pain. But if you want to attract their parents and their little siblings, then you have to find a way to deal with them. You’ve tried a carnival, a dance, a DJ and no matter what you do you still have a bunch of sulky 16 year olds hanging around looking to cause some trouble. So, why not engage their favorite brand and, well, let them get in some trouble? Pick an atmospheric venue around town, load up on the black lights (and chaperones), create a mysterious app and let social media do the rest. Have them paint an old clunker, create a mural painting contest, a secret “speakeasy” (secret password only, of course), and plenty of opportunities to ‘Gram some pictures, send out some Snapchats, and Tweet out the yin-yang.

 All teenagers are looking for is the feeling of danger and excitement, so use the things they like most (social media, amassing in a group, and making a mess) to create a memorable evening and bring some much needed youthful sponsorship money to your event.

 

Web form

 Vendor/Activity Bingo

The old classic. Even after years it still doesn’t get old. Vendors love it, attendees love it, and now your sponsors will too. With a beautiful app and a simple web form you can get your attendees to visit a ton of your vendors and engage with your sponsors, while looking like you’re solidly in the 21st century. It’s the mythical win-win-win, and you come out looking like the best event organizer in the world.


Securing new sponsors, and exciting old ones, is one of the most important things you’ll do throughout the planning phase of your event. Mobile technology makes your job easier by giving you an exhilarating new tool to bring new sponsors into the fold.

Tres Crow is the CEO of Walkabout, and his social media team thinks he spends way to much time on Pinterest pinning color palettes.

11 Romantic Places in the ATL

Sun Dial rests atop the Westin Peachtree.

Sun Dial rests atop the Westin Peachtree.

In case you didn't know Valentine's Day is, like, tomorrow, and while we're sure you have something super amazing planned out, we decided to take a break from creating awesome event maps to share this map of 11 amazing places to take your sweetheart this weekend. Ranging from restaurants like the Sun Dial and Agave, to attractions and outdoorsy stuff, this map has it all.

Here's a sneak peek:

Sun Dial Restaurant
Pretty much recognized as the most romantic restaurant in the city, Sun Dial has it all--great food, great service, and stunning views. Located at the top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel.


BeltLine Eastside Trail
The most unique outdoor living room in the city, the BeltLine eastside trail has everything--strolling, art, views, and about 1000 amazing restaurants and bars along the way.


Botanical Gardens
Built in 1980, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is a Midtown mainstay. With beauty abound, and lots of little nooks and corners, the garden is the perfect Valentine's getaway.


You can check out the map here.

We hope you enjoy this romantic guide for urban explorers--with love from Walkabout.



Tres Crow is the CEO of Walkabout, and his social media team thinks he spends way to much time on Pinterest pinning color palettes.

 

Color Palettes to Kick Those Winter Blues

Just Peachy.jpg

It takes nearly 7 million cone receptors in the human eye to bring our amazing, colorful world to life. And what a spectacular thing color can be, especially when the right colors are paired. Yet pairing colors is often a difficult and frustrating task when you’re on a deadline and the invitations have to go to the printer. To help bring the color back into your event planning day, we’ve curated this little list of brilliantly balanced color palettes that are perfect for February.


Strawberry Ice Cream

I hope you’re hungry, because these 5 colors could make anyone’s mouth water. Perfect for wedding invites, or Valentine’s parties, this palette is just the right mixture of playful and heartwarming.

I hope you’re hungry, because these 5 colors could make anyone’s mouth water. Perfect for wedding invites, or Valentine’s parties, this palette is just the right mixture of playful and heartwarming.

 

Winter Sea

When most of us think of the ocean, we think of summer. But cool, calming colors can be perfect in the winter too, especially as winter yields to spring. Let these 5 colors take you and your guests to the seaside resort of your dreams.

When most of us think of the ocean, we think of summer. But cool, calming colors can be perfect in the winter too, especially as winter yields to spring. Let these 5 colors take you and your guests to the seaside resort of your dreams.

 

Italian Villa

What better way to shrug off those winter blues than basking in the Tuscan sun in your mind? These 6 colors will have you laying in a settee, plucking grapes off the vine in no time.

What better way to shrug off those winter blues than basking in the Tuscan sun in your mind? These 6 colors will have you laying in a settee, plucking grapes off the vine in no time.

 

Georgia Peach

It may be a little early for Peaches, but it’s never too early for these beautiful springtime colors. I can almost taste the sweet tea.

It may be a little early for Peaches, but it’s never too early for these beautiful springtime colors. I can almost taste the sweet tea.

 

Color plays such an important role in defining your event, so why not try one of these color palettes and see where your event can go?


Tres Crow is the CEO of City Data Company, the creators of Walkabout.

4 Venues for an Authentic Atlanta Experience

The GA Aquarium, the biggest in the US. Photo via  Juan Silva Photography

The GA Aquarium, the biggest in the US. Photo via Juan Silva Photography

Atlanta has no shortage of great venues and event spaces. As a city with a lot to offer (check out our walkable neighborhoods blog here), you can find a space for most budgets that can accommodate a small group or as large as you dare. Whether you’re entertaining out-of-towners or the rare Atlanta native, you should aim to give an authentic “Atlanta” experience.  As for criteria, we tried to keep every good party in mind by looking at 1) the food, 2) the ambience, and 3) how “Atlanta” is it? Because nobody wants great ambience and bad food--that’s just bad karma. With wedding season around the corner, or in full swing depending on your Facebook newsfeed, all of these will work for that, too.

Here are 4 venues for an authentic Atlanta experience.


Park Tavern

Piedmont Park is an Atlanta staple for social gatherings - picnics, festivals, concerts, and tons more. Park Tavern, at the corner of 10th and Monroe, takes advantage of all that Piedmont Park has to offer. It can accommodate 50-300 people with ease.

How’s the food?

Pretty tops, IMHO. A menu that features fresh, upscale ingredients.

How’s the mood?

It can accommodate 50-300 guests and has rooms that have excellent views of the park and the city. It can accommodate swank and casual in equal measure - which makes it a great idea for corporate parties.

How “Atlanta” is it?

So Atlanta.


Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Dinosaurs. Not every venue has them (but they probably should). Fernbank is one of Atlanta’s best event spaces. Martinis & IMAX (yes, please) is a popular event held every Friday. No more excuses for a “blah” happy hour ever again.

How’s the Food?

Fernbank works with a list of excellent caterers, so you’re guaranteed to have something really special. Proof of the Pudding, a popular Atlanta caterer and award winner, is one of the approved vendors for Fernbank.

How’s the mood?

Kind of magical, honestly. You can eat dinner with dinosaurs. Seriously. Let your inner child wrap their head around that.

How “Atlanta” is it?

Totally Atlanta.


Swan Coach House at The Atlanta History Center

Part old South, part new South, part afternoon tea. The Swan Coach House has southern charm and hospitality to spare. It’s location at the Atlanta History Center has a formal garden and great examples of Southern architecture.

How’s the food?

The Swan Coach House is open for Lunch Monday through Friday and has bona fide secret recipe chicken salad (that’s delicious). They also do private events in the evening and their food focuses on fresh, Southern favorites.

How’s the mood?

There’s a distinct elegance about the place that harkens back to the days of Gone with the Wind, so if your pinky starts coming up after every glass of sweet tea, don’t fight it. Just go with it.

How “Atlanta” is it?

How much Atlanta can it NOT be is the harder question.


Georgia Aquarium

When you need to bring out the big guns, look no further than the biggest aquarium in the US, conveniently located in Downtown Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium is a truly one-of-a-kind experience that houses some of the rarest marine life in the world. And at over 550,000 square feet, it has quickly become a popular large event space for weddings, corporate events, and other functions.

How’s the food?

Wolfgang Puck catering is the exclusive caterer and, as the name suggests, attendees are treated to some elegant, high-end fare.

How’s the mood?

The Ocean Ballroom, one of the largest event spaces at over 16,000 square feet, has a jaw-dropping view of thousands of species of saltwater fish and is the real star of the aquarium.

How “Atlanta” is it?

It’s big, it’s swanky, brilliant views. It’s about as Atlanta as they come.


Large event, intimate party, or a corporate function - Atlanta has a wealth of venues to choose from that offer a unique perspective on a vibrant city. When picking a venue for your event, try to pick something that adds to the occasion and highlights the attributes you’re looking for. City views, dinosaurs, architecture, and sharks certainly help wow your guests, and Atlanta is home to all four. A party at these venues will give your guests a true Atlanta experience.

The Vendor Dilemma: Turning the Curious into Clients

Trade show

With the busy trade show season approaching, many vendors have similar concerns. Renting space is expensive, designing an appealing booth is expensive, and the hope is that the traffic brings some paying clients, making the investment worth it eventually.

Are you stressed, yet?

Becoming a vendor is an exciting opportunity when you’re looking to expand your clientele. The people! The lights! The...hundreds of vendors just like you trying to attract the same people you are. It’s competitive, with no guarantee that you’ll expand your business OR get your money back. Rather than running to the farthest hills you can find, here are some tips on how to stand out from the pack and turn those curious attendees into paying clients.


Get Interactive

No matter what kind of business you’re in, you have to find a way to make your booth hands-on. There are attendees looking for something new and exciting, so give them something to do! The most popular booths are the ones that have active participation, whether it’s tastings, interactive exhibits, computer stations, videos, performers - the list is endless. Think of a way that you can get people involved in the booth and get their hands on your product.  

And whatever you do, don’t let anyone leave without something with your company name on it. Business card, novelty pen, swag bag - the choices are endless.
 

Design to Sell

What you do with your booth space is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. A booth that is well-designed--aesthetically and layout-wise--is key. A couple of things that might help:

  • Make sure there’s a clear path to enter and exit the booth.

  • Have something eye-catching near the front of the booth, whether it’s a banner that stands out, lights, sculptures, a clever sign - anything.  

  • No "clipboard people" out in front of your booth!

  • Have some limited seating--people will appreciate the booth with a place to sit after hours of walking.

  • If it looks cheap, attendees will think you don’t offer a quality product or service.


Get On the Map (and in the program)

Whether it’s a large trade show or a small local festival, there should be a map and a list of vendors available. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to Get. On. That. List. Beg, borrow, steal, ask nicely - but make sure your name is on it. People can’t find you if you they don’t know you’re there, so make sure to talk to the organizers and see how you can get featured.

And if the event is really on their game, they’ll use Walkabout to create a map.  (Shameless plug over).


These are just a few tips and tricks to increase the likelihood of getting people interested in what you do. The most valuable tip - and this goes for most things in life - have fun. Smile. Have real enthusiasm. If people see that you’re excited, they’ll get excited too. Good luck!

Who Owns the Map?

ghost town

This is an old, but truly fascinating article from Atlas Obscura we came across in the last couple of weeks. It’s about the historical practice of cartographers putting “trap streets” into their maps as a sort of cartographic watermark. The idea is that the mapmaker would include in their maps a fake street in order to catch fakes of their maps, since any map with such an obscure mistake would have to be copied. This would be fascinating all by itself, but the practice has found its way into the digital age since many of the maps digital mapmakers like Google Maps/Earth use to make their digital maps are full of these trap streets. One of the coolest examples is probably that of the “phantom town of Argleton, England, which appeared on Google Maps as recently as 2009.”

“Online listings showed the town as having jobs, real estate, weather forecasts, and even a single scene. But no one had ever set foot there, because it doesn’t exist. Google has since removed the town from their listings, and though many speculate that it was a town-wide version of a trap street, the company wouldn’t reveal if its inclusion was a deliberate attempt to catch thieves.”

One of the more interesting questions that arises out of this phenomenon is that in the digital age ownership of the map isn’t contested so much as the programming behind the representation of the data on the map. The Google Maps API is so useful and cheap that it’s practically open source at this point, and if you prefer to truly be free then there are plenty of other options for open sourced mapping technology. Where, even 20 years ago, the actual depiction of the map was more akin to a work of art and was thus subject to copyright, making goofy things like trap streets necessary. But in the age of satellite imagery and down-to-the-foot cartographic accuracy, the common view is that the map is the map is the map. The differentiator is what goes on the map, how it gets there, and who has the ability to change the information. At this point, society has largely accepted that there is but one map and it is public property…it’s the people and the mounds of data they create that's up for grabs.

Our Fav #EdibleGeography Tweets so far

eating the world

We woke up today to the most incredible Twitter trend, #EdibleGeography, and well, we just had to share some of the best ones we've come across so far. Here you go for your Funnybone tickling pleasure.

 

 

It's About Time

It's ABout Time Salmon

Between 1519 and 1522 Ferdinand Magellan and his crew circumnavigated the entire globe for the first time using--among other things--maps of the known world. These maps were flat surfaces with information on them.

Flash forward 600 years--and about a zillion technological innovations later--and incredibly we're all still using practically the same technology to navigate our trip from our house to the store. Despite lots of cool stuff like GPS navigation and Google Street View, digital maps are still just basically flat surfaces with information on them.

Where's the innovation in that?

With all the amazing tools at our disposal isn't it time that digital maps start to be...well...digital?

Walkabout is the first great leap forward for digital mapping. By introducing the element of time to the mapping process, Walkabout maps use the digital realm in a way that is truly original. You're no longer stuck just mapping where things are, but you can use Walkabout to map when things are too.

Whether your planning a bar crawl, a street festival, or trade show, Walkabout's unique time slider allows your guests to see every event and every place in one easy-to-use mobile application.

After 600 years, isn't it about time for maps to walk out of the Middle Ages? We think so too.