Every year, as many as 20,000 people travel from around the world and descend on a small town in Spain. They are there for La Tomatina – an annual food fighting festival in the Valencian town of Buñol.
Why is the chance to hurl ripe tomatoes at one another an experience that people put on their bucket lists, and spend thousands of dollars in travel expenses to do? Because it’s an experience!
As life becomes more and more about Facebook pages and virtual friends, we are increasingly craving real, live interaction. We want it more now than ever, and our town and main streets have a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of this.
Be outrageous! Start an event that draws attention!
From turning a main street in the UK into an incredible water park to conducting an afternoon of horse racing in the centre of a Swedish town, the common thread is big fun and getting people involved.
Passive streets can’t compete with online superstores. But no e-retailer in the world can compete with a City of WOW!
City and community builders need to take big risks and never think an idea won’t work because it’s too crazy.
Here’s an experiment to try: Think of the silliest thing you can possibly imagine for a Main Street festival. Do it now… and say the first three things that pop into your head. What did you come up with?
How about a Dress up as a Purple Penguin Festival? The world’s first Duck Duck Goose Street Event? A Celebration of the Art of Origami?
The truth is that not only would these events likely work, but if organized and run well, they would thrive and be the talk of the town. In a life or routine and ordinary, people are desperately craving out-of-the-ordinary. It’s time to give the people what they want!
To see more of La Tomatina, check out this photo gallery from The Guardian.
As for totally different takes on the event, the Downtown Albany BID has started its own version of a food fight, launching “Food Fight – Meatball edition.” While it’s more of a best meatball competition, the inspiration behind it, and the excitement it will generate – are really all that matters.
Click here to read more about Food Fight – Meatball edition
Get out there and be crazy. The future of our Main Streets depend on it.