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First off, Local Support. --The Local Club and the strong support and enthusiasm from the Club and smart centers. Without local support I can't see an event Like this working as well. From an outside perspective (not in organizer of Nationals) it appeared the originators of the event (thank you folks for getting things started) handed the event over to the Locals who ran with it. They know where to go and have the ability to make the personal contacts locally to smooth over the bumps as they come.

Medium sized Hotel support. -- The Host Hotel was not in some big city where a convention rate and union fees would sink the event. The Hotel was able to adapt to changing conditions. And it appeared their were many from local codes to weather to blown transformers. They worked with the event to keep things rolling. Also thank you to the hotel for not tossing my wife and dog out. While they didn't allow Dogs to stay at the hotel, they didn't toss them out as visitors either. Many have called for an event like this to happen it cities I will not mention here, but I know in some of those cities a hotel unions would charge you $100 every time you needed to plug something in.

Strong Dealer Support -- I said it partially up top, but having not just a smart center, but one with folks who not only work on the cars but enjoy and customize them. If you doubt look at these cars

The Silver and black are not on display, they are daily drivers. Many of us know that the folks at our smart center may like the cars, but are not as committed and are not owners. Many are just salesmen selling a product. And it didn't Hurt that the dealership has an employee who made some fabulous BBQ.

Location. While I know it will always be a BIG question of where to have the event, we have seen in other threads that 500 miles is a distance many are willing to travel. SO, when we think of locations I firmly believe you should be able to put a pin on the map and a 500 mile string and get at least a 3/4 circle. If you put it on a coast or Border town you will eliminate the possibility of drivers coming from 1/2 the directions. Ok that is only 1/2 true, if you put it near our north or south border we can still get participants from over the border, but folks can't drive over the Oceans.

The Vendors - They took a BIG Risk committing to this event. When many said they would come the numbers were Quite low. This really is a Chicken or the egg thing. Vendors can't afford to put out the cash to attend if the attendance isn't going to be there, and folks don't want to come if nothing is going to be happening. The vendors did a fabulous job working side by side. It was great to see them doing their installs sharing the same space out of the sun or rain.

Things to DO. - While I really want to go to the Dragon event in September I'm not so sure my other 1/2 does. This event location provided a lot of things to do for those that didn't want to sit in on the tech talks and watch installs all day. There was no problem sending off groups to do some specialized shopping or find separate events for couples. Friday while I was hanging out at the event hotel my wife was off at a Yarn shop in another town for 3 hours. Not something I would want to do but then she didn't want to do what I was doing. While I went to the track With BarnyO and Jet, my wife went to a casino with someone else at the event. I heard some non attendees complain they wouldn't go because there was nothing to do in KC, They were wrong. If you couldn't find something to do you were trying NOT to find something.

Caravans -- Thanks to John for making most of them happen. While it does seem nearly impossible to let everyone know about caravans, it is true that getting there is 1/2 the fun. I was glad I got things rolling on the group coming down from the land without smart centers (Des Moines) I was frustrated in MY inability to organize my own state of WI to join me.

I'm sure ill come up with some more Pluses about this event, but I thought I would get the ball rolling while things are still fresh in the mind.

Please keep this thread on the Positive side by mentioning what worked and Why:D
 

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Webcasting the next event might be a good way to allow those who can't attend in person to at least view the proceedings in real time.
 

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Just my 2 cents in the spirit of throwing out some ideas..

The vendor area was small, but the stuff that was there was excellent!! The installation area was a bit cramped but that was mostly due to the rain and coudn't be helped. I would like to have seen some wraps going on.

It would have been nice to have a central location with some sort if message board as to what was happening each day with current updates. I had 2 printouts of daily activities and got confused as to which one was the latest. Also a spot to get some refreshments, possibly hosted by a local service group similar to the car wash group.

My wife did tag along with a group that went to the Legends mall. She must have had fun, she spent money...
 

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A great idea from Boris and Rachel of Smart Madness came up as they are also strong supporters of the mini clubs as well. The mini clubs organize an east coast meet one year, a west coast meet the next year, and a national event the third year.

Remember, we only have been in the US for 2 1/2 years now, and until we get more of a presence in the states, this would, IMHO, be the fairest way to involve everyone across the country.

I think the vendors were really surprised at the sales as several of those vendors actually ran out of product to sell.
 

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Would love to have a copy of that picture, but haven't seen it on their website. Anybody find it??

An east/west or nort/south event or even alternating location/year has been mentioned before. The thought was that there may not be a big enough attendance if it gets split up too much.
 

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I'm so happy this was a great success for all who attended. I know there was a lot of work behind the scenes, a bit of drama and more love and effort than most of us can imagine. Thank you all for organizing, working so hard and attending. Well Done!!

I'd like to see something a little further west next time. Like say < 1000 from the Pacific Ocean. :D


I would loved to have joined you all this time, but the distance, time and expense made is a choice that didn't win over all the other stuff I need to tend to this year. In a way, jwight was right - those who really wanted to be there were there. Congrats to all of you!
 

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I'm so happy this was a great success for all who attended. I know there was a lot of work behind the scenes, a bit of drama and more love and effort than most of us can imagine. Thank you all for organizing, working so hard and attending. Well Done!!

I'd like to see something a little further east next time. Like say < 1000 from the Atlantic Ocean. :D


I would loved to have joined you all this time, but the distance, time and expense made is a choice that didn't win over all the other stuff I need to tend to this year. In a way, jwight was right - those who really wanted to be there were there. Congrats to all of you!

Sorry Suze, couldn't resist the plagiarism with... a little twist! :rolleyes:
 

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Congrats to the grass roots organizing committee in pulling off what seems to have been a most successful 1st Annual event!
200 + or - jet fuel is a great first year. :spots:

The suggestion to have regionals annually followed by a National event every couple years is not a bad idea but it sounds like the KC group has set the bar pretty high. Unless the planning has already begun for next year this will be a daunting task for the next organizing committee as I am sure the KC group has gone into retirement!

Perhaps looking at smart sales by city or region could assist in pinpointing a future site as smart concentration could bolster attendance? Avoiding "convention style" hotels in a city with a SUPPORTING smart center seems to offer some synergies?

Curious, was there any mention of who drove the furthest?
 

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Discussion Starter #10

Curious, was there any mention of who drove the furthest?


This was the car Awarded the furthest drive via Map quest mileage from within the US. they even beat out Krusty from the Florida Keys. But....

These Nice folks even made a longer trip by coming in Via a stop in Vegas

They were in the middle of a 3 week trip.
 

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I'll jump in and say the communications could have been better. Anyone involved with something this size should understand that what LOOKS like "nothing going on" may well be a frenetic beehive of action, just not visible at the moment.

Case in point: staging the group photos. OMG! I was in the bucket, 30 feet up, on multiple phones with many fast, brilliant folks running around making things line up. I *KNOW* how much activity there was preparing for the two shots.

But I'll wager many people, waiting in the heat w/o restrooms Saturday, or watching the rain approach (again w/o restrooms) Sunday thought we were lolly-gagging numb-skulls, since it took SOOOOOO long to get set. On Saturday, by prior arrangement with the Police, we COULDN'T begin the parade until 6. People began arriving at 4! On Sunday, by prior arrangement, we were to shoot the pic at 9, to allow for everyone to get to the site, but people began arriving before 7. It would have been nice to inform everyone what the schedule was, so they wouldn't be impatient. Poor communications on my part. Sorry!

Were I to do it over, I would have been broadcasting over everyone's car radio so they could receive information, updates and instructions. Further, I would have had someone on the ground with a megaphone, being my mouthpiece, for last minute instructions.

I think the event was masterfully organized and executed, but there is always room for improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
They announced the Sunday morning photo would be taken at 9am and we were lined up behind the banner at 9:02. Good enough for me


The rain was looking quite close, but it never got us when we needed things to be dry
 

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Just my $.02 -- the schedule of events directed us to arrive at the Sunday shoot between 6:30am and 8am. So pack up, check out and head up to the shoot. Get some good breakfast at a very nice hotel then go home.
 

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A great idea from Boris and Rachel of Smart Madness came up as they are also strong supporters of the mini clubs as well. The mini clubs organize an east coast meet one year, a west coast meet the next year, and a national event the third year.

Remember, we only have been in the US for 2 1/2 years now, and until we get more of a presence in the states, this would, IMHO, be the fairest way to involve everyone across the country.

I think the vendors were really surprised at the sales as several of those vendors actually ran out of product to sell.
Looking forward, we asked smart USA for the top 3 concentrations of smarts:

It looks like California is where the greatest concentration of smart owners is. Texas and Florida are next.
:)
 

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I've decided to make these for the Dragon, but could be used for any smart event and definitely at the next National's event. You could also make your own and bring them.

Business card size exchange cards: "YOU MET ME AT THE DRAGON (or other event)" with space below to fill in your real name, handle, email or whatever information you want to share. I have all these little pieces of paper floating and business cards all around from all my new friends.
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parade: maps of the route with end point defined. Starting was not an issue, but I was not clear where the actual parade ended.
 

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parade: maps of the route with end point defined. Starting was not an issue, but I was not clear where the actual parade ended.
I don't mean to sound negative, but in all honesty, the parade was a real frustration. We never made it to the Power & Light district and gave up with some others who were tired of going in circles and fighting traffic/red lights in downtown. We ran into several back at the hotel who had the same comments.

Why did the parade cop send some people one way and send some cars another way? We had no idea what was going on and it didn't appear that anyone that was sent the same direction did either. We kept getting separated at lights, etc.

Regardless, this is definitely something that can be improved upon in any future parade event.
 

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I don't mean to sound negative, but in all honesty, the parade was a real frustration. We never made it to the Power & Light district and gave up with some others who were tired of going in circles and fighting traffic/red lights in downtown.
It was a bit confusing, BUT, that was the power and light district. Where the cop was splitting us up was right at the power and light district, Some went left and others went straight. Find a parking ramp and have dinner somewhere. That was the plan.
 

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I don't mean to sound negative, but in all honesty, the parade was a real frustration. We never made it to the Power & Light district and gave up with some others who were tired of going in circles and fighting traffic/red lights in downtown. We ran into several back at the hotel who had the same comments.

Why did the parade cop send some people one way and send some cars another way? We had no idea what was going on and it didn't appear that anyone that was sent the same direction did either. We kept getting separated at lights, etc.

Regardless, this is definitely something that can be improved upon in any future parade event.
I was told later. The KC police had to break up the parade. I was upset no one spent time down there. The KC police could have lead us to some of Power & Light district parking, down there. That area is the new hot spot of KC. Lots of bars, restaurants, shops, and music. I guess the KCMO, side doesn't care about, making any revenue. A group of us meet back at Union Station parking lot. We then went to a Mexican restaurant. We flag down as many as we could.
 
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