Community Event Evaluation Opportunity 1

Every organizer worth their salt learns by evaluating their work after and event. We ask ourselves what went right or wrong and what could be done better in the future. Comprehensive evaluations include interviews or questionnaires by organizers, venders, sponsors or partners but rarely does an event committee hear from attendees.

Two BAM clients received event evaluations from BAM this year. I tried to be impartial on event day and evaluate the event from an outsider perspective. To hone my chops, I evaluated 4 other business district street fairs in Portland and at least 5 main street events in Oregon, Washington and even Canada this past summer.

I evaluate an event from an outsider/attendee perspective to better give organizers information about how events are experienced and more importantly how their district comes across. Evaluations help us learn from another point of view lead to increases in attendance, repeat business plus strengthen a community through better planning efforts. Sometimes the closer we are, the harder it is to see our opportunities or mistakes.

Attendees are most impacted by information provided (or the lack of), way-finding signs and the way traffic flows near central activities like a main stage, beer gardens or kids’ areas. Other high impact areas surrounding food or vendor areas can be critically examined through outsider eyes to realize better practices. Looking at the distance between activities or rest areas from a guest’s perspective offers more improvement possibilities.

Last month, at the Oregon Main Street Conference in Oregon City, I spoke with several different committee members who were in the planning stages of organizing holiday events. Almost across the board, evaluations from last year’s event were difficult to access. Those who had reviewed evals, did so immediately after the event the previous year but couldn’t really tell me what, if any, ideas for improvement came from them.

My work primarily focuses on helping Business District Associations or Main Street organizers build community through events. I want to aid event organizers in maximizing their efforts by seeing their events through the attendees eyes.

I am offering free “mini-evaluations” for many Main Street Associations in the Oregon Main Street Network  or Washington Main Streets within reasonable driving distance to Portland. If you know of an event in your area that might benefit from an outside perspective, don’t hesitate to connect with me. [email protected]


Bridget Bayer brief bio: I am a top-performing consultant with 20 years experience in small business leadership. Currently serving clients in California, Washington, and Oregon, I am a highly motivated professional recognized for exceeding organizational goals, utilizing solid communication, mediation techniques and community-building skills.


About Bridget Bayer

Bridget Bayer is an author and community organizer working to create vibrant main street business districts that support local economies. Bridget believes shared activities are a catalyst for positive change. Her professional work fosters community involvement by creating shared events that enhance communication, develop shared interests and support existing and start-up non-profit organizations. At home, Bridget focuses on innovative ecological practices, hates waste and dependably finds ways to eliminate it. After 25 years in the restaurant industry, she still loves to cook especially with locally sourced veggies including those homegrown from her garden. Bridget, the first mate on Ama Natura, lives on a floating home on the Columbia River in Portland with Peter Wilcox, instigator of the Inside Passage Decarbonization Project, and the lovely Luna, her favorite cat.

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One thought on “Community Event Evaluation Opportunity

  • Moira Green

    Bridget, This article reminds me of when I was a secret shopper. That was a long time ago — more recently I’ve been on the other end when I organized events for many years. I probably could have learned a lot from an evaluation like yours. It can be very painful to receive a critique and yet, if one can get past hurt feelings, there is usually so much to learn once one decides to place trust in the evaluator. Thanks for this great article — very interesting!