New York, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, New Orleans, Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego; Frankfurt, Germany; Zurich, Switzerland and Milan, Italy — What do all of these cities have in common? I’ve attended a trade show, convention or conference in each of them at least once. What is missing is Akron, Ohio. I’ve never been invited to or required to go to any major function in this city.
Now the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau (the people who run the J.S. Knight Center for one thing) are trying to change all that. They’ve come up with a pun intended initiative titled “DEFY Convention,” which challenges those of us who love Akron to bring one of our functions to the city and/or county. The idea behind this program is to get those of us who love our town to see Akron and Summit County as a place to hold the functions for organizations and clubs to which we belong back home.
For instance, if you’re a member of the American Marble Shooters Association (I don’t know if there is such a thing), what better place to hold your annual “Shoot Out” than at Lock 3 and the adjacent Marble Museum? Or if your car club wants to hold a “Model T Roundup,” the Summit County Fairgrounds is more than large enough to accommodate it.
Here’s how the ASCVB defines this initiative: “The Defy Convention initiative will inspire well-connected members to open the eyes of decision makers and make a difference in their home town. They will be asked to focus their passion and influence to help us reach our goal of bringing at least 15 new events to our area in 2014.”
So here’s what you do: If you’re the decision maker about where your event will be held, or if you want to have someone else contact the decision maker, contact Mary Tricaso at the ASCVB. She is the lead person in this initiative and will either send you an information packet or contact the decision maker directly to walk them through the process of holding an event in Summit County. The event does not necessarily need to be big enough to use the Knight Center, but could easily fit into one of the hotels or other venues in the area. Call Mary at (330) 374-7560.
Now here’s the cool part: Those of us who succeed in bringing a new event to the Akron/Summit County area will be given a bucket list reward. So far, that list includes throwing out the first pitch in an Akron Rubber Ducks game, getting backstage privileges at an event at the Akron Civic Theatre or a run down Derby Downs hill in a Soap Box Derby car. More bucket list rewards will be added as the year goes on.
I suppose a disclosure is in order. I am a member of the ASCVB’s Destination Development Committee and have been for several years. This is the first time I’ve ever written about our plans but I’m really enthusiastic about this “Defy Convention” push and not just because it’s a pretty good pun (but that helps.)
We, the hardworking staff of akronlife magazine (pictured above), want to wish every one of you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year. L'Chaim.
Don Baker, Jr., Editor-in-Chief