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Event Season is HERE!

Avatar photo by Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator | April 3, 2024
It is April, which means event season is HERE. Below, we will cover some of the upcoming events and what you need to know to correctly position your business.

April 8- The Eclipse- The total eclipse doesn’t hit this area, but a partial eclipse should occur. Emporia State University will have remote opportunities to view the eclipse via the Peterson Planetarium. For more information, please CLICK HERE. For businesses that sell science/tech items, or can create craft projects for eclipse viewing, this rare event could provide a marketing opportunity.

April 13- The Taste- This fun event brings together Kansas wineries, breweries, and distilleries with local food vendors. Restaurants have the ability to market to attendees prior to the event for the “pre-game meal”. Clothing/shoe/accessory vendors can promote retail options for attendees. Nightlife businesses can reach out to the general public for “after event” opportunities. CLICK HERE for more Taste information.

May 4- Cinco de Mayo, Dynamic Discs Open Block Party, La Grind- It seems like there are several other events happening this day to couple with a fusion of awesome activities. The multiple events will take place from the 500 Block of Commercial to the 800 Block of Commercial in a rolling time frame. Retailers can use the opportunity to invite people into their storefronts with attractive windows and exterior signage. Contact Emporia Main Street for event specific contacts to determine unique ways your business can get involved. Bars can operate in a number of ways, but acting as a food seating area (with no outside drinks) may provide the most profitable opportunities. Restaurants can offer climate controlled alternatives to the street festival. Remember that the Dynamic Discs Open starts a few days prior to the Block Party, so be prepared for extra folks in town. The festivals for HOTT’s Cinco de Mayo and the Dynamic Discs Open Block Party will take place in the 600-900 blocks of Commercial Street. CLICK HERE for more information on May 4th activities.

May 11- Emporia State University Graduation- Graduation weekend is one of the highest traffic producing weekends of the year. Marketing gifts, space rentals, entertainment, places to stay, and other opportunities can drive customers to your place of business. Don’t forget graduation weekend in your planning! AND, remember that a lot of people visiting will be from out-of-town, so your marketing concerning what your business does and why people should spend with you needs to be exceptionally clear.

May 12- Emporia High School Graduation- Emporia High’s graduation provides similar opportunities to ESU’s, with more of an emphasis on gifts and other keepsake items. Some families will opt for a cookout party at home which provides an opportunity for food vendors and caterers. Encouraging friend groups to stop by for entertainment experiences or group art projects can lead to future patronage.

May 12- Mother’s Day- DON’T FORGET MOM!!! The unofficial “national brunch day” may lend itself to reservations at your favorite food establishment. Retail gifts, certificates for local art classes, hobby purchases, and tickets for upcoming local shows can all be marketed to those buying something special for mom.

May 18- Flint Hills Technical College Graduation- Like other local graduations, FHTC graduation is a great opportunity to provide gifts specific to the graduate’s trade. New shoes/boots, tools, technology, fun scrubs, and much more can both serve as a way to congratulate a graduate on their accomplishment AND help them on their career journey. Prepare for graduation parties, restaurant groups, and much more.

May 18- Flatland Cruisers Car Show- Last year the local Flatland Cruisers group had perfect weather for their car show. The result was fantastic attendance and a plethora of awesome vehicles. Local retailers can nab some of the traffic from the show as families look for multiple things to do downtown. Car enthusiasts are often collectors, so featuring unique retail items and welcoming people to town for the show can help drive consumers into your storefront. Restaurants provide a good “sit down” option for show crowds, and specialty shops can offer sweet treats as people peruse the vehicles at the show. The car show typically starts in the 800 Block of Commercial Street and runs north to 12th Avenue. CLICK HERE for more information on the show.

June 1- Unbound Gravel Finish Line- This year’s finish line party will be different from past years. First, the early morning launch will take place in the 800 Block of Commercial and launch north. Professional riders will have their own separate launches for both men and women. Second, food trucks and most of the outdoor street vending will be confined to the 600 and 700 blocks. The adjustment to street vending opportunities results from one of the biggest changes to the event: Unbound Gravel, in an effort to improve rider safety, will close Commercial Street from 6th Avenue to 12th Avenue on race day. On street parking and vehicular traffic will be prohibited on June 1. Riders will obviously be in town for the entire week (some will be in town the previous week), and this represents an opportunity for unique businesses. Showcase your “bike friendly” attitude. Host a watch party in your storefront or upper story. Highlight regional unique merchandise. Answer questions for guests. Chalk your sidewalks. Encourage sidewalk traffic. Decorate your windows. Offer to ship merchandise home for riders. Generate in-store “selfie” stations. Clearly describe what you do and how you benefit our guests. The finish line festival is the single largest one-day event in Emporia, but you need an effective plan to take advantage of it. For more information on the Unbound Gravel Finish Line, CLICK HERE.

There are obviously a lot of other events on the horizon, but the list above are activities or holidays that require some immediate attention for businesses seeking to capture traffic and sales. If you need assistance with audience breakdown, outreach strategies, or more, please contact Emporia Main Street. We get involved in these large scale events to provide a benefit for you and the community. We can help stock the pond, but we need you to fish in order to maximize the positive impact on this region.

About the Author

Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator

Jessica Buchholz is the Community Development Coordinator for Emporia Main Street in Emporia, Kansas. She specializes in event planning, volunteer recruitment, alternative marketing, media/public relations and fundraising. During Jessica's tenure at Emporia Main Street, she has helped grow events to an international level and she has created a series of new activities to meet organizational goals.