Thursday, February 05, 2009

Planning for festival heats up

[from the TECHNICIAN ONLINE, Raleigh, North Carolina]

Hillsborough Street planners work to prepare for day-long street festival

Organizers for the first annual Hillsborough Street Reneissance, a green arts and music festival designed to bring the community together, have started finalizing plans for the event.

Will McGuire, a senior in aerospace engineering and one of the event organizers, said plans for the March 14 event have continued to grow and change during the last month or so.

"Plans have been moving along," he said. "We're starting to finalize our plans for the festival. Right now we're focusing on sponsorship."

The street festival, scheduled to begin at noon and last until 10 p.m., will kick off the construction scheduled to take place on Hillsborough Street and the surronding area during the next two years.

The festival, McGuire said, is designed to bring the community of students, residents and local professionals together.

The event will also help three local charities--Engineers Without Borders, MorLove and Soles4Souls.

Since the planning started in late 2008, McGuire said the event has done nothing but grow.

"Initially, it was challenging because we had to meet with so many people and convince them the event was safe," he said. "After that, more and more people started to get involved."

McGuire said planners are still expecting up to 20,000 people to attend the event.

Attendees will have numerous attractions to choose from throughout the festival on March 14.

McGuire said there will be a pig and pie contest, an alternative fuels vehicle showcase, a fashion show, an iron chef contest and more.

The pig and pie cook off contest, sponsored by Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

There will also be bands on hand to play throughout the day.

Joseph Heil, an event coordinator for the festival, said most of the bands scheduled to play will be from the area.

"I think most of them are from either Raleigh or Chapel Hill," he said. "They are all from North Carolina at least."

To accomodate the large crowds expected, Hillsborough Street will be closed the day of the festival from Wachovia to Bruegger's Bagels.

McGuire said the closing of Hillsborough Street will allow the renaissance to have the feel of a true street festival. Raleigh police officers will assist in closing down the street to make things safe.

"It will be mainly Raleigh police," McGuire said. "They have a special operations division that will be helping us out."

Joseph Heil, a senior in textile engineering, said getting the street closed took some work.

"The street closure was definitely a challenge," Heil said. "We talked to a couple of city council members and wrote a proposal to the Raleigh police department to close the street. That request had to be approved by the City Council."

The section of Hillsborough Street between Pogue Street and Logan Court will close at 7 a.m. March 14 and remain blocked off until 5 a.m. March 15.

McGuire said once plans are finalized, Legacy Event Planners, the nonprofit group responsible for planning events for Hillsborough Street, will begin advertising the event.

"Our publicity and marketing will start Feb. 14," he said. "Most people won't remember an event if you advertise it more than a month in advance."

McGuire said there will be representatives from a parking company on hand the day of the festival to help with parking and accommodating crowds.

"All the University is open on the weekends," she said. "Also, all the neighborhood parking will be open. Mclaurin parking lot will be open with no charge and lots near Nelson Hall will be available as well. People will be guiding traffic too."

No comments: