‘Tis the season…. The arrival of the Holidays has an energy all its own. And we’re giving you a look behind the scenes to see how visits with Santa, winter festivals, strolling carolers and Christmas tree lightings come about.
The family, friends and favorite foods may be your responsibility, but planning the festivities, events and holiday “happenings” are usually the responsibility of your friendly neighborhood marketing people. That would be us!
Myers PR planned and produced six marketing events held over the last weekend alone. With the goal to attract visitors to our properties on Black Friday and get our customers in the holiday mood, we offer an “experience.” Research shows that although more and more people will continue to shop online, many shoppers are drawn to centers that offer more than shopping – an opportunity to be a part of the festivities instead of just given holiday promotions.
On Friday, Black Friday, we started the day in Reston Town Center with the Gingerbread Man Mile – a fun run for kids at 8 AM. The shops and Ice Rink opened early to capture the crowd. The Reston Holiday Parade followed at 11 AM. We drew over 12,000 to 15,000 happy attendees. Our goal was to capture that audience for ice skating, photos with Santa, dining in our restaurants and shopping with a great overall experience. To wrap the evening up we held the traditional Tree Lighting and Sing Along with Santa.
Simultaneously, across the Potomac, we entertained children of all ages at Mazza Gallerie in Chevy Chase, offering photos with Santa and his strolling entertainers. The Santa team put in three days of cheer, and will continue every weekend including Christmas Eve. Here’s the schedule!
Just across the street at the Shops at Wisconsin Place, our Sprinkled with Cheer event featured more strolling entertainers music and, of course, old Mr. Scrooge himself. It was a chilly day, but the shops were busy and the customers were delighted. Mission accomplished!
On Saturday we crossed the river once again and headed up to Olney for the Fair Hill Shopping Center’s Holiday Festival. Santa arrived on fire truck, with lights a-blazing and Santa a-waving! It was a family friendly event with lots of activities, Choral performers, and of course, photos with Santa. It was a brave crowd who stayed on in the chilly evening for the lighting of the Christmas tree. Everyone was so appreciative and happy to be there. That made all the preparation and work so rewarding!
Each of these experiences takes months of planning and preparation, reams of paperwork – insurance forms, production schedules, invoices, contracts – and a lot of man hours. Our goal is to make it all seem effortless and fun!
So, here we are six events into the Holidays with another three to go. Sometimes I am asked if it’s hard to be so busy during the Holiday season. I say, if we can create memorable experiences that make people happy to be on our properties – to shop, to dine, to hang out and enjoy themselves – then we have done our job. And to all a Good Night!