Note: This Event was part of my “Secret Experimental Event Series” for Big Weekend Calendars and The Austin Events Wall Calendar. You can read more about the event series in this post.
The title sort of says it. My main concern was that I might have two people show up and I only had one extra cup of coffee. I didn’t want a disappointed potential calendar buyer.
Since people were going to take the time to go to this event, then I wanted to make sure they got what they expected. I decided to bring the whole coffee maker in case the event turned out to be a massive blowout.
The marketing materials included: Eventbrite event (free tickets!) to limit capacity; A page on our website; A promotional video that I took way too long to make; An email newsletter to promote it including this event on a throughline of the 202020 events, along with hand drawn images of poor quality on purpose and also because that’s all my current skills allow me to do.
Making black coffee at home for myself is easy. Filter+coffee, that’s it.
But I drink it black and the location likely wouldn’t have water. And then there’s all the different milk choices and sugar choices and there’s really no end to what people might want from a simple coffee. I would also ask people to bring their own mug, despite the fact that the event title clearly says I have a cup for them.
Ultimately, I decided on this bring list: ground coffee, paper cups with lids, half and half, soy milk, sugar, spoon, stirrers, chair, coffee maker, filters, water, my sandwich sign, chalk, eraser, tablecloth.
I needed a place with electricity, a table and minimal foot traffic (unlike the later events I didn’t want just random passersby joining in – these were “secret” events, after all). I didn’t want to carry all this crap too far from my car, either.
I decided on Patterson Park. There’s a pavilion and tables and I’d seen electrical outlets there. I went on a scouting trip and brought the coffee maker with me. There was a homeless man sleeping on the table next to the outlet. I managed not to wake him and was glad to know that I might have at least one attendee on event day.
No volunteers were needed for this event.
Having spent a couple hours collecting and buying everything the day before, I had it in a tub in my living room. I packed up an hour before the event started and drove a mile over to Patterson Park.
The homeless man was gone and I set up without anyone questioning me. I wrote “I made an extra cup of coffee. Who wants it?” and drew an arrow on the sandwich board, then placed it 50 yards down the sidewalk in the parking lot.
Then I waited. And waited. And waited.
Fortunately I had brought some coffee along and was able to enjoy some coffee. And I waited.
The hour long event was half over and I was feeling pretty bummed. I realized the point was that no one should show up but it was kind of depressing because I had done all this work to throw this party and no one had come. I wasn’t expecting to feel down about having achieved my goal.
Then, over the short horizon, approaching with only a mild look of trepidation was first attendee!
It was my friend Todd who I hadn’t seen in a while (and I hadn’t even seen his name on the list). Awesome.
We chatted a while and then another person showed up. Someone neither of us knew. Exciting! It was picking up!
Or perhaps I should say he was picking up.
Our next attendee was not there for the coffee but instead he worked for the parks department and had to do some changing of garbage bags. He had a look of confusion that I read as excitement and we managed to convince him to attend the event. He took a cup and chatted for a few minutes.
Then he went back to work and Todd helped me clean up.
Heading back home with a bunch of crap in my car I felt pretty good but was also feeling like it was going to be a long event series with a lot of work. This was supposed to be the “easy” event to put on and probably took me at least 10-20 hours to do everything necessary.
Don’t make events that you don’t want people to go to. Because when they don’t show you will be disappointed.
Any event you do takes a lot of work.
These events will be full of surprises, even if it sucks a lot of the time. It reminded me of my backpacking days. Long periods of time of nothing and no one and boredom and loneliness and then you run into some cool people and it all vanishes instantly.
Below are the details and promotional video for the “Who’s Your Height?” event as posted to the public. See more detail here on the Big Weekend Calendars website.
I Got An Extra Cup of Coffee. Who Wants It?
This event is part of the Austin Events 2020 wall calendar’s Secret Unpublished Event Series.
I’m going to make an extra cup of coffee later this week. If that sounds like your kind of thing, come on out. If more than one person shows up, y’all will have to split it.
Things to know:
- This is for real.
- I will have sugar and half-and-half and some extra cups in case it gets crowded.
- If you could bring your own cup, that would be great.
- This is event is free.