Special Event Planning Tips

“We constantly make sure we’re critiquing the details of the event throughout the planning process. We do an intensive evaluation of the event each year after we complete it,” says Anselene.

“We’ve been doing the manual for probably 12-13 years. It really becomes a Bible of how we operate and what we do and is always open and available.”

Registration Matters

Technology has given a registration boost to parks and recreation departments, becoming a valuable tool to make the process that much smoother. It saves paperwork, time, money and hassles.

However, it’s important to keep in mind the little things about registration, beyond what the technology can do, that can make a big difference.

“On the morning of the race on-site registration is always kind of jammed. We were getting a ton of on-site registration,” says Anderson. “Obviously it’s a lot easier to have them pre-registered, so we made the race a certain fee up to a certain date, then it’s more to register on-site. Hopefully that was an incentive to pre-register.”

Once on-site, the general commotion of the event can make things confusing for those attending, requiring a lot attention from staff to make sure people go where they need to go.

“We’re constantly having people come up to our info booth asking, ‘When is this happening? When is my race going?’ We have our race flyers, but we found it’s simply a matter of having an easel with a timeline and schedule of events of the day, so that you can direct people, as opposed to having to know all the times and having to repeat the information again,” says Anderson.

San Gabriel takes registration at the parks and rec department, and they’re faxed and mailed in. Active.com handles Web site registration.

The registration sheets are provided by the timing company, who prints them out in alphabetical order for each race. From there, staff prepares the race packets and has them available for pick-up on the morning of the race. This process runs very smoothly and the shorter line on race day allows the pre-registered runners to be on their way for the race. race packets are sent to everyone who’s pre-registered so that they can pick up all their information from the shorter line and be on their way for the race.

When all gears are working, registration can be a beautiful thing. In order to keep it going, extensive backup and documentation is a must.

“From a management standpoint, technology solves a lot of logistics and paperwork and has improved the way we do things. My only concern is if it goes down. If you don’t have paper or disk backup you’re in big trouble. I always download and print out the receipts,” says Cox.

“I have a baseball team and the guy who’s doing my Web site had his computer crash. If he didn’t have all the backup he would be in major trouble.”

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