If you're familiar with Excelsior, you're familiar with Art on the Lake. Although I had been to this event before, I had no idea what was in store. In the midst of vendor confirmations and organizing final details I came to the realization that this event is one of the largest events put on in Excelsior. From a planning aspect, Art on the Lake takes a village to prepare for the event, and an army to actually make it happen.
About two weeks before the event we sat down to go through all of the final details. That moment is when I realized this event was much bigger than it seemed. As Laura and Jocelyn rolled through vendors, artists, layouts, and more I couldn't help but watch in awe. It was truly amazing how fast the two were going through each detail, and how they jumped from one thing to another without getting confused. The thing that amazed me most though is how the two didn't even have to finish a sentence for the other one to know exactly what they were going to say. Once you work with someone for so long and do an event so many times it becomes like a second language to you.
Art on the Lake approached quickly, and once it came there was no holding back. This is the type of event that you have to jump full force into, whether you know what you're doing or not. I for one didn't know what to do because this was my first event experience not related to weddings. But all of the sudden I was directing traffic, managing deliveries, and directing vendors to their booth spaces. It's hard to explain, but it really is one of those "learn as you go" type of experiences.
Everything seemed to be going off without a hitch, until Saturday came. Looking up at the sky that day it was clear there was severe weather ahead. At first it was just rain, and even though it wasn't the nicest of days there were still people coming and shopping at Art on the Lake. It was about noon that day when the sky turned black and our lightening detector was flashing those dreaded red lights. It all happened so quickly, but we unfortunately had to pause our event for an hour due to severe weather in the area. If you've ever wondered what bad weather looks like for events keep reading, I'll give you the not so glamorous look inside of events.
To ensure everyone was safe I, along with all of our event staff and volunteers, were running from booth to booth in the pouring rain. We would stop at a booth and let the vendor know the situation, help them put their art in safe places as well as lower their tents, and direct them to the safety shelter or shuttle to bring them back to their cars. After we completed the process at one booth we would move onto the next until all 156+ booths were notified of the situation. We then had to sit in our storm shelter and watch the weather unfold until we were finally given the green light to re-open our event. By that point everyone was soaking wet, I literally had puddles in my shoes. Despite the crummy weather, there were still community members out enjoying the art fair and we still made the most out of our situation.
Sunday on the other hand was incredibly beautiful and thankfully made up for Saturday! The atmosphere in The Commons that day was so fun. It truly is the perfect event for anyone because there's something that appeals to everyone. Whether you're a foodie, love live music, want to grab an adult beverage by the lake, or enjoy looking at the wide variety of art pieces, I'm sure you'll have the best time at Art on the Lake. If you have never been to Art on the Lake or are wondering what is so special about it, check out this short video I made! As always, one event ends and another is right around the corner...I hope to see everyone at the 4th of July!
Tuesday was our first farmers’ market of the season! Although I had been to the market before, I had never been on the work side of things. As I came into work that day I honestly had no idea what to expect, or how hectic things would truly be. The morning proceeded as any normal day in the Chamber office; Laura, the director, Jocelyn, the marketing director, and I each had our list of things to do and quickly got to work. Quick side note: when you work at the Chamber your task list is never ending! As you work to get the long list of to-do’s done, people come in the office with new tasks that need to be completed immediately. As a very task focused person it has been a little difficult for me to leave an unfinished task to work on another, but I’m adjusting to this fast pace environment quickly.
The afternoon hit before we knew it and it was time for load-in. We put on our neon orange safety vests and began to head out to Water Street, but not without a quick laugh. One thing I love about working with Laura is that she finds a way to turn any situation into a fun one. She had us take a picture to show how “official” we were and to make us all smile. We then walked to Water Street and put up barricades so people would know the street was closed for the market. Vendors arrived and we directed them all to their designated spot on the street and gave them some quick instructions on how to set-up. In the midst of directing vendors, we also had to run around and find the owners to some abandoned vehicles on the street. Once those vehicles were cleared all vendors were able to set-up with ease! Quickly we saw tents pop-up and things came together. All of the sudden there was a market and people were walking about enjoying the nice day and unique vendors.
The set-up process for the farmers’ market was a little chaotic, but it was organized chaos. The Chamber is one well-oiled machine and you can totally tell this just by the set-up of this large scale event. If you didn’t get the chance to stop by the market this week I highly recommend coming next week, and all of the weeks that follow! There are some really fun vendors, including homemade ice cream, and it's just overall a warm and inviting environment for anyone. I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend with friends and family, be on the lookout for my post next week where I’ll be taking you all to look on the inside of a local shop!
Hello! My name is Moriah Gerber and I will be taking on the role as the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce Intern this summer. I’m so excited to share this experience with all of you! Before I dive into the Chamber experience, I want to introduce myself a little.
I just finished my junior year at the University of Kansas where I study Marketing and Spanish. Although I love Lawrence, I will always be a Minnesota girl. I was born and raised in Chaska where I danced at River Valley Dance Academy and on the Chaska High School Dance Team. There was never a dull moment for me in high school because I kept myself very busy with all sorts of extra-curricular activities. While I lived in Chaska, I spent a large chunk of my time in Excelsior – it’s like a second home to me!
Growing up I quickly found a love and passion for events. I absolutely love putting together an experience for people where they can make some of their best memories. My end goal is to become a wedding planner, but I’m currently finding a bigger interest in community events. As you probably could have guessed, I’m bursting with excitement for this summer with the Chamber and all it has to offer!
Just to share a few fun facts about me, I absolutely love all things Disney! Friends is my favorite TV show, and Kenny Chesney is one of my favorite artists. I don’t think that there can ever be enough of the color pink, and family is the most important thing to me. I’m the youngest of four, but including spouses, kids, and fur-babies our family is pretty big! I love spending time with my friends, eating ice cream at Licks, and boating on the lake (as most Minnesotans do). I’m so looking forward to this summer and all the opportunities it holds, but I’m mostly eager to get to know all of you – the community!
During my time with the Chamber of Commerce I hope to bring a new perspective of the Chamber and all that it does. This blog is going to be a fun mix of city event information, interviews, and some “walk-alongs.” Stay tuned for my weekly blogs/vlogs to get the inside scoop of the Chamber!
Moriah Gerber is the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce Intern, bringing you on the inside to learn about the full Chamber experience.