It’s a crisp fall afternoon and the sun is shining. It’s late September and I’m at home for a weekend, trying to find something to do. I decide to go to the local Apple Festival in the town next to mine with a few friends. After driving around and seeing countless handmade signs for the event, we park in a lot across the street from the event and walk over.
Advertisements seemed to be the most prominent public relations technique used by organizations at the event. Even outside of the event area, ads appeared in the local paper and in businesses; grocery stores, coffee shops, convenience stores, etc. I first learned of the festival’s existence by word of mouth, as some of my friends live in the town and have been going to the festival since they were children. The concept of the festival seemed good enough to me: food and shopping. Why not go?
Upon arriving, the first thing we see is the rows and rows of vendors selling anything and everything. From knitted hats to apple pie to hand-crafted jewelry, consumerism is heavily promoted at this friendly local event. Apples are the featured food of the event, so every variation of the fruit is displayed: apple pie, apple dumpling, candied apples, caramel apples, anything you could think of. Then there were the non-apple edibles: kettle corn, chili, hot dogs, burgers, ice cream, etc. Those were primarily advertised with signs and smells. Occasionally there were instances of viral marketing; a child exclaiming over some particularly good ice cream, for example.
In addition to advertising, communication was a significant public relations method found at the event. Local, small-town, tight-knit family values were the main appeals for this event. Images of families enjoying themselves and buying products from local vendors were advertised everywhere. Local charities and organizations called upon people attending the event to donate money and help improve their community. Organizations and vendors used these appeals to communicate with their customers and the community as a whole. Ultimately, the event aimed at bringing people together as a community.
Overall, the festival was a success. The event has been growing over the years and the numbers of participants has increased, adding more substantially more business for this small town. The food and the family-oriented environment resonates with people from all over, so the primary appeals the event makes are mostly successful. Though grocery superstores and corporate America have become so widespread in the food industry, locally grown products are still a desirable commodity. And luckily, when you live in central Pennsylvania, you don’t have to go far to find those tasty freshly grown treats.