Written by EIG Editor, Brandy Truex
In a previous post, I explained that adding a new event element to your festival is a good way to get the attention of the news media. And if you can add kids, or dogs, you are sure to have a hit.
A local South Florida event recently received some well-deserved news coverage for adding a program for school children to their event. This addition to their festival was significant and provides a great human interest angle for the media to cover this year and for years to come. The children that are able to take advantage of this program could be positively impacted for life.
Read the article below to find out more about this great event idea. Can you add something like this to your festival?
Program allows students to catch flavor of equestrian events
By Mitra Malek, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
WELLINGTON — Only one school in the village has paid particular mind to matters of the horse. Now 12 in the area will.
The producers of the Winter Equestrian Festival are rolling out a new program that allows students from the tender age of 5 through their teenage years to catch the flavor of equestrian sportsmanship and the business behind it.
“Our mission is to break the walls down, get rid of the country-club atmosphere” of the equestrian world, said Katherine Bellissimo, one of the largest shareholders of Equestrian Sport Productions.
It’s not a secret that riding can be an expensive. “We want to make sure every child in Wellington who wants to ride a horse has an opportunity to ride a horse,” Mark Bellissimo, the festival’s managing partner, told Binks Forest Elementary School students during a pep rally this month that featured horses trotting and doing tricks.
The Wellington Public Schools Initiative costs schools nothing. Each of the 12 schools is paired with one week of the festival, which started two weeks ago, and gets the same opportunities: a limited number of free riding lessons for students, an after-school horse-lover club program, field trips to Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and a chance to showcase its talents during the festival’s premiere Saturday events.
The Saturday night portion alone is a simple way to broaden the horizon of students – and their parents, several school and program representatives said. Many might not otherwise venture to the equestrian center. But when the majorette team is scheduled to perform before the Grand Prix or the chorus is charged with singing the national anthem, as Wellington Landings Middle School did last weekend, students and parents have a sense of purpose that draws them to the grounds, Katherine Bellissimo said.
That helps make the horse show a more mainstream experience, which is good, school representatives said. “The wonderful thing about Wellington that sets it apart from other communities is the equestrian lifestyle,” said Jim Marshall, Wellington High School’s Equine Pre-vet Academy coordinator. “If you took Wellington without the equestrian community and stuck in West Broward, it wouldn’t be much different from Parkland.”
Wellington High, the one school that had previously incorporated an equine dimension, concentrates on science. This new initiative is more practical, with an eye on career development, Marshall said. Through the initiative, Wellington High plans to set up a long-distance learning center where cameras would be on-site with industry professionals who can share with students their job experiences.
The equestrian industry isn’t only about riding or being a vet. Equestrian Sport Productions has 42 weeks of shows a year and employs 50 full-time staffers and 350 workers when the season gets busy. That involves trainers, special events workers, publicists – not only riders and vets.
If you have an event that could use a marketing makeover, and would benefit from a complimentary 30 minute marketing strategy session, contact her at 561-601-5566 or brandytruex at gmail.com to set up an appointment today.