when the levee breaks…your spirit

Last Sunday marked Auroras 150th birthday. Exactly 150 days from the date of incorporation.
It was also the first of 4 parties the town planned through it’s late to the party ad-hoc committee.

A price tag of over $200,000 has been budgeted for these events, and the question is did Aurora get its money worth on the first one?

If it was measured in decibels than I would have to say yes.

Bob Hawkins, the crummy DJ hired for the event had their music blaring. It was cranked way too loud and not even remotely enjoyable when trying to gather around the band shell for refreshments or chatter. The choice of music was also pure crap, Top 20 hits that you would find on any cheesy radio station. I was wondering if they were going to break into karaoke, to be honest even Former Clr. Granger’s karaoke outing would have been more appreciated.

Given Auroras rich music history couldn’t we have landed on something more home town than this dreck?

The further away you were from the band shell the more bearable it was, that said there really wasn’t much to do. Skating was contained into the ball diamond. There was broom ball on the street and if you weren’t up for that you could enjoy a horse drawn cart ride… all of two streets.

Whoopee!

An event like this should have been an opportunity to have the town’s history out on display, and it wasn’t. There were no artefacts, no imagery, no one to engage with.

You would think with all the attention on the raising of the chosen 2013 flag that the history of Aurora’s flags would have been provided as context. It wasn’t. If you’re interested in that kind of thing be sure to check out this link: http://flagspot.net/flags/ca-on-au.html

If you were looking to enjoy something other than heated up chocolate syrup around the bonfire you would have been disappointed.  Who cares if it was free, where were the adult friendly refreshments, coffee or apple cider?

Couldn’t the committee have reached out to some of the Aurora Farmers Market vendors to set up a couple of their stands to sell coffee and treats?

The icing on the cake was the icing on the cake, and the cake itself. In case you missed it here is a picture:

So as a resident I’m supposed to believe that the appropriate response to our town turning 150 is to get the cheesiest slab cake at the local Wallmart?

The cake really couldn’t be any more pathetic, which must be why the clip art logo seems so at home embellished on it.

Had the committee even considered engaging a local business they would have had a much more meaningful cake? The Aurora Farmers Market even has a vendor that makes impressive cakes.

The town’s strategic plan references innovation and sustainability, there was a huge deficit of both at this event.

It was awkward and square.

Aurora’s history is anything but mediocre, so why are we choosing to celebrate it in this manner?

How many aspects of our town’s celebrations are going to be phoned in over the year?

A great piece of reading for the entire committee is Michael Stelzner’s piece titled “Failing to Start: Why We Accept Mediocrity and How to Change” : http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/failing-to-start-why-we-accept-mediocrity-and-how-to-change/

If the mediocrity itself, or the poor attendance weren’t warning signs enough there’s the small matter of how the town mishandled a matter of citizen engagement at the event that is downright disturbing.

I understand after speaking with a resident at the event that she was confronted by the committee’s event coordinator while simply taking photographs.

I expect what caught the attention of this staff member was simply the fact that this resident had two cameras in her possession and therefore the assumption was made that she was a member of the press. She was not, and stated so.

The fact that the event coordinator decided to approach said resident on these assumptions and reprimand her citing rules and regulations that were inapplicable is perplexing. Last time I checked Town Park is a public space. If there were concerns regarding privacy or security certainly this was a matter for bylaw enforcement, not a green light to harass a resident.

The unfortunate, and rather unprofessional manner that this customer service issue was handled served to disengage the resident to the point which she informed me she simply wanted to leave. This was with over 2 hrs of the event remaining that she intended to enjoy and take photographs of.

As someone who also takes photographs of events in town, writes on a myriad of web and social spaces I too feel a level of disengagement through this action, as it reinforces a rather hasty and inappropriate reaction to those of us contributing in these spaces, especially considering how close we are to the town’s recently launched $6 million lawsuit against three residents.

I don’t suspect the intent of this action was to harass, but it certainly doesn’t excuse what has transpired.

The purpose of the committee is to provide avenues for the town to gather and celebrate in an inclusive manner. As we look forward to celebrating our past present and future during the next three events the committee seriously needs to regroup and to restore our confidence in their ability to execute with an adequate amount of professionalism and inclusivity.

Either that, or the town should just fold the remainder of events and mail out Chuck E Cheese coupons to each household with their tax bill. Because like the song says, when the levee breaks you’ve got no place to go.

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One thought on “when the levee breaks…your spirit

  1. Hmm. Interesting article.
    Just read Brock Weir’s account in the Auroran – sounds like he was at a different event entirely.

    Seriously though.
    Your point about accepting mediocrity is well made but don’t most small town events – and Aurora is a small town – tend to be somewhat cheesy?
    Never done the Santa Claus parade but the Canada Day parade reeks of ‘fromage’.
    Sounds like this party was at that level as well – not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    These things appeal to a certain demographic and I ‘m sure those folks were thrilled to bits.

    But the ‘no photos’ confrontation doesn’t sound right.
    Hopefully the ‘event co-ordinator’ has been duly corrected or at least has offered up some sort of plausible explanation.

    Like the new site Mr. Watts – keep afflicting the comfortable!

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