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Rivers and Spires email is opportunity to be better

Posted By Hank Bonecutter On Friday, May 4, 2012 @ 7:15 am In Opinion | No Comments

Hank Bonecutter

Hank Bonecutter

Clarksville, TN – Just my opinion, I like to call news.

This week a business owner in downtown Clarksville sent an email to the organizers of the annual Rivers and Spires Festival, praising their work and complimenting the volunteer efforts that it takes to host such an event.

He also criticized those same organizers for what he believes are things they should consider when planning future events.

Read our story here: Prominent downtown business owner suggests changes in Rivers and Spires Festival [1]

I think this is a real opportunity for those who may disagree on things, to come together and respect and appreciate what we all bring to the table to make Clarksville an awesome community.  It shouldn’t matter what your politics are when it comes to Rivers and Spires Festival, and you should be honest in your assessment about all aspects of the festival even if feelings are hurt.

(That’s what it says right here on page 12 of the “perfect world” handbook)

Opinions are mixed about Jeff Robinson’s observations over Rivers and Spires.  They range from agreement to things I can’t print.

I know Jeff has an interesting personality, and I know he can be a pain in the ass, but you don’t run a successful restaurant for TWENTY YEARS, in downtown Clarksville no less, and not have something going for you.  I like Jeff, for no other reason than he tells it like it is, agree with him or not, you know where you stand.

I also love the beer cheese dip.

The fact is, Rivers and Spires is a GREAT event, but it needs some tweaking, like anything else, and hopefully people won’t get their feelings hurt and we can take it to the next level.

James Chavez, President of the Economic Development Council, responded to the observations this way:

“It is important that you know that our staff, beyond Theresa Harrington and Doug Barber, and all of our volunteers serve as stewards for a community event.  It’s important to us that Rivers and Spires fill a community need.  If it is not, or no longer serves it’s intended purpose, it need to be addressed.

I will be working with Doug, Theresa and Steve Stroman (convention and visitors bureau chairman) to conduct an evaluation of all of our downtown stakeholders.  The assessment should include an honest evaluation of whether or not the festival is still a viable celebration and whether or not the downtown community wants this.”

I remember the first Rivers and Spires I ever went to.  We had just seen an incredible Beatles band, and the event was over, and I looked up and there was Doug Barber picking up trash along Public Square.

I like Doug Barber, and he doesn’t even make beer cheese dip.

The organizers of that event love the event and put their heart and soul into it, so any criticism is going to hurt, but when looking at the “big picture” you have to take the good with the bad.  I would think the downtown business owners have a lot to say about the event, and shouldn’t be expected to “take one for the team” just to have the festival.

The Roxy Regional Theatre just closes it’s doors for the weekend.  Not good. (And don’t blame it on them, the noise is horrendous inside the theater from the music outside).

On the other hand, thousands of people come to downtown Clarksville who have never EVER been down there.  Now, whether or not they spend money, go to the theater, eat at the Blackhorse or shop, is another story.

If I was one of the downtown “stakeholders” I would have a LOT to say about the event(but I’m a loud mouth anyway, so, whatever).

BUT I WOULD MAKE IT WORK!

Where else can you do to attract that many people to your business without spending a small fortune on advertising to do it?

Make it work, that’s all I’m saying.  Make everybody feel like they’re appreciated and respected for their efforts.  Don’t play favorites.

Feelings get hurt all the time.

Assuming ownership in things that don’t belong to you happens all the time.

Special interests are a premium in Clarksville, so let’s not be afraid to say publicly what we say in private.

Now, how about some beer cheese dip?


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URL to article: http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/2012/05/04/rivers-and-spires-email-is-opportunity-to-be-better/

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[1] Prominent downtown business owner suggests changes in Rivers and Spires Festival: http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/2012/05/01/prominent-downtown-business-owner-suggests-changes-in-rivers-and-spires-festival/

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