Hoping to avoid conflicts among local events and to help share scheduling information, the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry is offering a new web-based calendar for local use by organizations that host festivals, sports competitions and the like.
The calendar has two URLs, WhatCalendar.com and BhamEvent.com, but both direct users to the same site. There’s a form to complete and the event will be reviewed before publication, said Guy Occhiogrosso, president/CEO of the local business group.
“(The calendar) is part of a bigger program” to help those who plan events, Occhiogrosso said. “We’re constantly running up against events that are held at the same time. We think this will be beneficial to people who coordinate events, to post information and see what other events are going on as well. We want to have better events, better-attended events and better-communicated events.”
Occhiogrosso cited the many Oktoberfest and beer-oriented festivals around Bellingham as a kind of event that saturates the weekends locally in autumn. Summer has the most potential for conflicts, he said, because many local organizations take advantage of the fair weather to hold outdoor activities. He mentioned the first weekend last June, when three events competed for attention: A world record parade of Subaru vehicles was attempted in Birch Bay, volunteers helped build a park in Ferndale, and Lynden held its Farmers Day Parade and a world record strawberry shortcake attempt.
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“That all happened in one summer weekend,” he said.
Occhiogrosso said he sees the online calendar as a way to promote efficient community interaction.
He said WhatCalendar listings are meant for events that are open to the public and is expected to draw more than 500 people, such as fundraisers, galas, and athletic competitions. It’s not designed for weddings, recurring meetings, and events that are closed to the public.
“It’s to help everyone plan events better,” Occhiogrosso said.
As part of the WhatCalendar program, the chamber is offering a free training seminar for event coordinators from 2-5 p.m. Tuesday. Oct. 4, at the Hampton Inn, 3985 Bennett Drive. To attend, RSVP to Occhiogrosso at guy@Bellingham.com.