ALPENA - When being approached about hosting an event it is critical to have a wide variety of locations and resources available to make Alpena as appealing as possible. Having the perfect site and amenities at the ready make it easier to recruit large and small events, as well as makes the logistics involved simpler.
Alpena Convention and Visitor's Bureau Executive Director Mary Beth Stutzman said in order to address the preliminary needs of event organizers and to be able to reply in an instant, the CVB is creating a database that will provide information about possible event locations, as well as a list of other resources, such as sound companies or caterers.
We are taking an inventory of any building, facility, open space, park or field that we have in the community that can be used to help recruit and plan events," Stutzman said. "We don't currently have something like this. Sure, I can list some places off the top of my head, like the APlex and the Northern Lights Arena, but we want a comprehensive list of places that can host an event large and small."
Stutzman said each site will have information about it and those details will help Stutzman match the right venue to the type of event that would be held.
"We will have what the particulars of what each location features. Are there bathrooms and if so how many? Is there a kitchen? What is the capacity and square footage? " Stutzman said. "Then we want to know what it is currently being used for and what are some of the common uses we could use them for. We would also think outside of the box and look at other potential uses."
Stutzman said when someone is interested in holding an event in Alpena and contacts the CVB, it is often the location and its availability that can make or break the event taking place locally or not. She said having all of the information available at her fingertips will make it easier to sell Alpena as the preferred place.
"It will be for when I get that call that could be the chance of a lifetime for Alpena to host some sort of major event," Stutzman said. "I don't want to have to go off on a wild goose chase to see if we can make it happen. I want to be able to say with confidence immediately that yes we can host it and move right into the planning stages."
Stutzman said other communities have similar databases established. She said she would like to have a list of services that are offered by local companies that can be used. She said they could range from taxi rides to staging and decorating.
"I want to know what services are out there, so if someone wants a large scale event and they need something like a sound system, I will be able to know who to call right away and might be able to help out," Stutzman said. "We're not talking about free services, just what price is attached to the service you have available. It will be good to know that we can, at the drop of a hat, if we get a call, that we can know who we can count on out there."
Stutzman said there are several large events planned for this summer, including the Michigan's Harley Group Rally, as well as four visits from the Great Lakes cruise ship Yorktown. She said there are some other events still in the planning stages, but there is one next summer that already has been scheduled. She said it is a large event and will bring hundreds of people to town and it is only one example of the types of large events Alpena can attract.
"Alpena will be the location for the Ford Model-A Roundup, which will bring people who own the classic Model-A cars from all over Michigan to town," Stutzman said. "They will spend a couple of days here, tour the area and allow the people of Alpena a change to get up close and personal with the antique vehicles. We are expecting maybe 250 cars, many with more than one person in each, so it will be neat to see and great for Alpena."
Stutzman said people who have facilities or places that can host events can find out more about the database at www.alpenacvb.com/facilities-open-spaces-inventory and people or vendors that can provide services can do the same at www.alpenacvb.com/service-and-vendor-inventory.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.