For the last two years, I've been part of the committee that's planned and promoted the Concordia Music Fest, a downtown outdoor evening showcase for area singers and bands. Not only has this become a great new addition to our annual Fall Fest celebration, allowing current community members the chance to reconnect with area alumni while fully extending our town's biggest bash for a few more hours, but it's also afforded us a glimpse into the immense potential that exists at the Broadway Plaza.
It's not a challenge to see how engaging your community and outside visitors in a large, diverse number of events can have a considerable impact on the local economy. Visitors spend money. On-site activity spending at the Music Fest has included admission costs, as well as food, beverage and t-shirt sales. Performers have actually sold out of their own merchandise. Out of town visitors have stopped at local gas stations, retail stories and restaurants. Overnight guests have stayed in local hotels. Local government and tourism has reaped the rewards through sales tax and bed tax dollars collected.
What can be difficult to grasp in theory is the social benefits that regular activity and events will soon provide our community. The success of the Broadway Plaza will hinge on members of the community attending events, utilizing the space, and devising and executing unique ideas that illustrate the things that make Concordia special.
Live outdoor music is just the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine witnessing another Kansas City Royals World Series run on the large video screen, and the energy, excitement and celebration with the team's fans that before now seemed impossible to replicate away from the baseball stadium.
Visualize the rebirth of the drive-in movie, a cultural icon of American life that's disappeared. Thanks to the Broadway Plaza, a new generation can discover the joy of watching a classic film under a star-lit sky, but complete with state of the art sound and video quality.
Envision an easily accessible environment for public art displays, children's activities and specialty events that offer amplified exposure to sightseers and onlookers.
Think of the many summertime festivals or assorted wintertime holiday displays and installations that can decorate and infuse our downtown.
And consider the delight of posting comments and photos with your family and friends on social media, highlighting your experiences for others, and promoting a positive dialogue about Concordia and all that we have to offer.
The wait is almost over.