Ms. Deanna Read is the Special Events Coordinator for District 1, and has been planning different types of events for 10 years.
What type of events are your favorite, or which are the easiest to plan? What do time frames usually look like for events?
My favorite events are First Fridays because there is live music, activities for kids, delicious food trucks, artisan vendors, and everyone seems to really enjoy themselves. It brings the community together, and I have seen long-lasting friendships come from these events, which I think makes people want to stay in Natomas. It really gives Natomas that small-town feel. Movie Nights are probably the easiest to plan because we have been doing them for so long. I look for time frames when families can attend, so a lot of nights and weekends.
Has there been an event where there had been higher than the intended outcome?
Yes. The very first Helicopter Egg Drop. We expected to have about 6,000 participants, and planned according to that, but we had to guess how many people would come because we had never done this event before. To our surprise, over 10,000 people showed up, which resulted in many lost children, our staff running to the stores nearby to purchase extra candy, and a lot of damage control during the event as far as logistical planning was concerned. We still consider it a success, and we have learned a lot and have planned for extra at all events because of that event.
What factors for events do you need to keep in mind when planning? How has it changed over time?
Many factors go into event planning. For example, planning the day and time of events helps increase participation when they are done in the evening hours and on weekends when people are off working and children are out of school. Time of day helps because during summer it can be too hot, and during winter it can be too cold. The venue is important as we try to find a space with plenty of parking or is centrally located so people can walk or bike there, and if the weather is an issue, we may choose an indoor facility as a backup.
What are some recent events that you've planned?
I have planned Helicopter Egg Drop, Movie Nights, First Fridays, Farmers Market, Creekside Community Fair, Pumpkin Pickup, Holiday Craft Fair, and assisted in planning Santa in Natomas. I have also done virtual events since COVID started, such as Virtual Storytime with Santa, Virtual Egg Hunt, Virtual Chalk Challenges, and things of that nature.
What inspired you to start event planning? What's your absolute favorite part about it?
I was first inspired to plan events when I worked for a credit union, and I was asked to help plan a Shred-It event. This is a drive-through event where members of the credit union were invited to drive through with up to 5 boxes of personal information (bank statements, bills, and account records with sensitive information on them) to shred. I was able to help plan the logistics of this event, including the drive route, where the giant shredding truck was located, and snacks and refreshments for the participants. The supervisor loved it so much. I was invited to plan these events annually for the credit union and eventually assisted in planning all of their Grand Openings when new credit union offices opened.
Is there anything you would like to share with the young readers out there?
No matter where you think your career path might take you or how well you've planned, you may uncover a hidden talent within yourself and wind up doing something you never thought you'd be doing as a career.