By Juliana Moxley
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer
OLD TOWN LANSING — If you want to be part of Old Town’s largest fundraising event then come out to the annual Festivals of the Moon and Sun this summer!
There’s a lot that goes into putting on an excellent festival series, but the OTCA’s festival committee members are striving to further improve the fun alternative way to fundraise.
The fundraising of the festivals benefits the OTCA’s programming throughout the year. The branding and promotion for events such as Chalk of the Town, Turner Street Outdoor Theater and Dickens Village are examples of what the Festival of the Sun and Moon benefit.
A unique festival
The festival name was chosen because of the significant meaning that lies behind them: The festival dates revolve around the Summer Solstice. The Festival of the Moon is celebrating it’s 10th year on June 20, and on June 21 the Festival of the Sun is celebrating it’s 15 year.
Not only will local and national entertainment be capturing the crowd’s attention, but local food and beverages will also be available at the festivals. To keep the festivals interesting, each day will have a different theme.
Festival Director Grace Guerra said the Festival of the Moon will be featuring beer from Bell’s Brewery, a company the OTCA built a great relationship with, which developed into a sponsorship from the brewery. The Festival of the Sun will focus on wine pairings, meaning people will be taught how to pair certain foods with wine.
“Moon features Bell’s Brewery and Sun features a variety of wines and beers, including some of Michigan favorites,” Guerra said.
For the love of committees
Guerra could not give specific details on who will be featured at either festival because everything is still in the planning process. Luckily, Guerra has a committee to assist her with executing successful festivals.
Melik Brown, one of Guerra’s committee members, said the committee takes the festival at its entirety and tries to figure out the different aspects of it, such as who is going to handle the advertising, organize the volunteers, and do the set up and tear down of the festivals.
Being an entertainer himself and hosting events gave Brown an upper hand when it came to taking on his current committee position of organizing the entertainment and advertising aspects of the festival.
“Being able to promote my own shows gave me a good background,” Brown said.
Among Brown’s festival committee duties are making sure the proper channels of advertising are being used, which includes determining which broadcast mediums to use, making sure the posters convey the proper information and creating a positive online presence.
Old Town has remained an area of job attraction for Austin Ashley, another committee member. Several years after his internship with the OTCA, Ashley is still a loyal committee member in the district.
“I found myself coming back year after year for the festivals committee,” Ashley said.
One of Ashley’s big projects at the moment is trying to find a sponsor for each festival’s wristbands. The wristbands allow people to gain admission into the festival and serve as proof that attendees are at least 21-years-old.
While brainstorming possible wristband sponsors, Ashley came up with a creative idea that would allow the sponsor to also be promoted. The idea of having a cab company be a sponsor and print their information on the wristbands is a good promotion strategy for the cab company and also offers festival goers a safe option for how to get home.
A summer attraction for everyone
You don’t have to be a wine or beer connoisseur to be interested in the Festival of the Sun and Moon. The festival offers live shows, a chance to try local food and an opportunity to see what Old Town is all about.
Political science sophomore Lauren Moeggenberg said she would be interested in attending this year’s summer festivals.
“I think that’s a great thing to do in your local community,” Moeggenberg said. “It sounds like a fun thing to do — it’s different.”
Questions? Contact Juliana Moxley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (586) 819-9750