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Don’t worry, be happy!

by Alan Horton

Editor’s Note: Horton is the Sedona Cultural Park’s  Executive Director.

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Reggae Festival Sedona Cultural ParkOur Chamber of Commerce was having the same dialogue with Sedona businesses. What could the Chamber do to counter all that bad press? Under the leadership of President and CEO Char Beltrane and Chairman of the Board Dan Schay, the Chamber developed a PR effort called Matchless Sedona. At the center of this effort for July was a marketing campaign in Phoenix, advertising special rates at many local hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts. Further, the Park would give these same lodging establishments access to discount tickets for their guests, providing extra incentive to visit our community. This campaign has only just begun, but we have great hopes for it. Frankly, I see this as a permanent move in the right direction for our community, encouraging further cooperation among business sectors. I’m sure we will all continue to work together well beyond our current crisis.

Another encouraging sign for the Park is continued strong community support. While sales from outside our region may have suffered for Manhattan Transfer, sales from within our community did not. We enjoyed healthy support for that concert from Sedona and the Verde Valley and we appreciate it greatly (I’m sure those that attended will agree that the band put on a great show in return).

Attendance at the Family Fun Fourth and Sedona Centennial Celebration was as good as ever, well over 3,500, despite the lack of a fireworks display. Folks from all over Northern Arizona (as well as an impressive contingent from Southern Arizona) enjoyed our First Annual Bob Marley Festival, July 6 and 7 – attendance approached 5,000 for the weekend. And locals showed up again in strong numbers for The Temptations on July 12.

From the beginning of my short tenure here, I have understood that the Park is fundamentally a community asset. The Park will survive and thrive only with the strong support of its community. However, by accepting that community support, the Park also accepts great responsibility. In times like these, with visitation down and many of our neighbors hurting, we cannot retreat. We can’t scale back, shutter our windows, adopt a siege mentality, reduce our public presence. Quite the opposite. We must work even harder to encourage visitation. We must do our part to bring back the restaurant diners, the gallery shoppers and the resort patrons. We must demonstrate that the community’s faith and support are justified.

We are moving forward. We are continuing with our season, with more energy and commitment than ever. In fact, we are still adding events, most recently a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert on August 8 and more to come during the critical September and October months. We also are moving ahead with our plans for 2003, with even more concerts, more festivals, more cultural events than ever. I am very excited about next summer’s season, by the way - it will be OUTSTANDING, I assure you.

In further appreciation of our community’s continued support, we are launching a new discount program for locals for the balance of this season - 10% off all tickets at the Georgia Frontiere Performing Arts Pavilion. This applies to residents of Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek and throughout the Verde Valley, from Camp Verde to Jerome. To take advantage of the discount, you will need to buy your tickets in person at the box office or at the door with your driver’s license – phone and Internet sales only will be available at full price. In this small way, I hope we can say “thanks” for all you do for us.

Am I still a worried man here in mid-July? WellÉyes. Honestly, I’ll probably stay a worried man until we get enough rain to re-open the forests. But I feel confident in our overall direction. I feel confident that we are doing the right things for our community.

Later this month, you will all receive some information on our 2003 Partners in Park campaign. If you like what we’ve been doing, I hope you’ll tell us by becoming a Partner in the Park. In return, we’ll provide you with a number of benefits and incentives. More importantly, we’ll try to continue our good work, worried or not. Thanks again for your support so far.

Also visit the Sedona Cultural Park Website

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