I'm completely disappointed in this year's Plymouth Ice Festival. So much so that I came home, hit Twitter, and fired off a barrage of tweets about the numerous shortcomings.
The 'tude family looks forward to the annual ice carving weekend all year long and we couldn't fathom the incompetence of the event planners and municipal representatives that effectively ruined the weekend for many attendees. Yeah, I'm in a ranting state but I assure you, everyone with whom I spoke agreed that the layout and (lack of) management was atrocious.
So much empty wasted space and steel barricades that screamed "stay out of Kellogg Park" with no real flow through the exhibits and no way to actually view the art without pushing and shoving your way through standing crowds.
"I've been a Plymouth resident for 17+ years and have always looked forward to and thoroughly enjoyed the Plymouth Ice Festival. Unfortunately, unless your organization and the City of Plymouth guarantee some drastic improvements, this year's event is the last one I will ever attend and I will encourage my family, friends, and business associates to stay away as well.
Unless you can prove this year's Saturday afternoon attendance was three or maybe four times that of last year, the horrible experience is a direct result of poor planning and execution and not a case of too many people.
Keeping the Southbound lanes of Main St. open to vehicular traffic was completely unnecessary. It may have made it easier on the Plymouth Police Department but it was a major inconvenience and waste of space for festival attendees.
I realize sponsorships are important but on top of the steel barricades, surrounding Kellog Park with an array of Don Massey Cadillacs and allowing festival carvers and workers to park their vehicles in close proximity to the barricades made it very difficult for people to maneuver around the park (notice I did not say "through" as your barricades made that impossible) and get close enough to really see and appreciate any of the carvings.
It's bad enough that you had to surround the park with steel barricades but by not establishing and maintaining a single point of entry and exit with a one-way route, every walkway around the barricades was basically a shoulder-to-shoulder, crowd of people, children, strollers, and dogs trying to move in so many directions that it was practically impossible to navigate the festival except on the extreme peripheral.
This may have been great for the food vendors but when the intention is to showcase the work of talented artists the artwork should be visually accessible, not blocked by six-deep crowds of rude or unthinking spectators that were either incapable or uninterested in pausing for a few moments and then moving along so others could enjoy the show and instead, planted their feet and stood like they themselves were some sort of statues on display.
The Ice Festival has always been my favorite event but your absolute lack of understanding of the expectations and interests of your visitors completely ruined it this year. I may be the only one with enough chutzpah to call you out on this epic failure but I assure you, everyone I spoke with - even complete strangers - shared this sentiment.
I am extremely frustrated by and disappointed in this year's event and strongly recommend that everyone involved in the poor planning and execution spend some time reevaluating the purpose of the festival and the expectations of its visitors. As event planners, you have a responsibility to anticipate and meet the needs of your guests and sadly, this year you did neither.
You owe your patrons an apology and should all be ashamed of yourselves!"
The annual event used to be called the International Ice Carving Spectacular. Considering this year's debacle, I suppose it's understandable why it's just an "ice festival"; the only thing spectacular was the magnitude of the planners' ineptitude and failure!
copyright © MMXII Scottitude