So many people asked me over the weekend what it was like to be on the other side of the Festival that I thought I would be the first to let you know. There are probably others who wanted to ask but didn’t think it was the right thing to do. Or people just speculated or asked others close to me. But here it is for you–my top 10 points on what it was like being on the other side of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival:
- First and foremost, it was great! For those of you that saw me, you know I enjoyed every second of it. I wasn’t stressed, I was able to do exactly what I wanted to, when I wanted to do it and with who I wanted to do it with. I had always heard it was a fun weekend but to finally experience it first hand as an attendee, I now can concur–it was a great time!
- Not that I wanted to jump in and help, but I did feel for the staff–especially for Randi Weinstein and Sara Donahue, when the weather was crappy during set up. They work so hard all year-long to develop a plan, to create the best events they can, and to have to deal with cold, rainy, muddy conditions, it turns all those plans into mush–literally. They did not let it stop them and worked hard to make it all work, and it did.
- I was not there to judge–I was there to celebrate. So many people came to me and either criticized stuff or wanted me to say bad things. Sure there were things here and there they can fix, but overall it was another amazing year and I was there to celebrate that, not bash it.
- It was nice to finally be publicly recognized by the Festival for doing a great job with starting and running it for 8 years. It might have taken them a year, but having Gillian Zettler, the new director, mention me and the accomplishments I had achieved for the event in a speech was a such great thing, and much appreciated.
- I did not realize how many frindge and unofficial events there were during the Festival–and how great they all were. The majority of my schedule was filled with these parties and they were honestly some of the best events I have been to in Charleston.
- I loved being able to do whatever I wanted to do! Take shots from a boob ice luge, sit back and joke around with friends about apps like Tinder, have longer than five-minute conversations with most people–I did it all and did not mind the hangover each morning as a result of it.
- Festival events should not start until at least 10:00AM. Having three days of early events, I will say it was hard to manage and do it with a smile. Now being on the other side, I realize it is really hard to be up and at ’em at 8AM without bags under the eyes.
- It was great running into so many volunteers. Everyone was so sweet and said the nicest things to me all weekend. I did not realize how many people I had become close to over the years and really enjoyed seeing them all!
- I missed my ticketing team. Not that I wanted to deal with a single wristband or scanner, the team that runs ticketing is the bomb! LK, Paul and Kim….I loved seeing you and missed having the time together with you like I did in the past. Drop it like its hot!
- Having a golf cart is still key. It was so helpful and allowed me to get to and from with so many friends in tow. I walked away with a lot of swag, a parking ticket and three new umbrellas because of it.
So no need to ask, there it is to see. Being on the other side did two important things–confirmed my decision to leave and made me proud of being part of something so important for our city. Here’s to another great year in 2015!