I started the company Big Weekend Calendars in 2006. Over the last 15 years we have made thirty calendars for Austin, Portland, San Antonio, and Houston. (Due to the pandemic I chose to only make an Austin title for 2021).
I’m grateful that over the years the calendars have been popular and I’ve been able to sell them in all kinds of locations, from local bookstores like BookPeople and Powell’s, to HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Whole Foods, Amazon, Walgreens, Sprouts, and many more.
(Want to buy one? Find out where on the Big Weekend Calendars website.)
More Than Just A Calendar
The calendar started out in 2001 as a spreadsheet of events that I kept missing every year. (This was before facebook or any other significant event listings were available on the internet). I would share the spreadsheet with friends and anyone I’d meet that I thought it could help.
Somewhere along the line I had the idea to make it into a full wall calendar and fifteen years later, I’m proud to say it’s still a best-seller – even with many internet event listings available for free.
The heart of the calendar has always been to connect people to things they can enjoy. There’s no ads or paid inclusion. It’s just good stuff and I try to make it fun with lots of smaller details: armadillos hidden in the photos, monthly puns based on the photo, a surprise insert every year, and a one-of-a-kind email newsletter (free to anyone) filled with complements.
I want the calendar to feel personal, local, inventive, fun, and inspiring. I want people to feel connect to their community in ways they will find fun, surprising, and rewarding.
As Inspiration For Experience Design
When you go rooting around for what’s interesting, new, and meaningful you get a good feel for the kinds of experiences that people are looking for and the kind that are fading away.
You also get a feel for gaps in the experience offerings of a city. And you see certain disconnects between what marketing and reputation promises visitors and what the visitors actually find when they get here.
I think about these gaps and disconnects a lot. And I write about them a lot on this blog.
I created the calendar because I have always loved to seek out events and other experiences and share them with others. But I don’t just report on experiences – I have been creating my own for years.
While most of my events have been private, I believe there is a tremendous amount of opportunity in Austin to create IRL experiences for both tourists and locals and I’m excited to bring more of them into reality.