“We Love Homewood Day Event/We Love Homewood Day 5K”
Homewood Patriot Band
We Love Homewood Day is an all community event in the city of Homewood AL and takes place the first Saturday of May each year. We Love Homewood Day starts with the WLHD 5k at 7:30am. Then at 9am WLHD activities begin in the city’s public park. Activities include local vendors, food trucks, and tickets for blow up/jumpy houses, and carnival type rides. Music is provided by a local DJ throughout the day. The Homewood High School Band and the Homewood Middle School 8th Grade Band perform a midday pep rally in the park. The day ends with a parade.
The overall objective is to show love and appreciation for the city and community of Homewood, and all the many things they do to support the school system and the band. The band students and other school groups volunteer to to give back to the community and to help showcase some of the many talented groups within our school’s community. The added benefit of the We Love Homewood Day event and the We Love Homewood Day 5k is that the profits from the money raised from the carnival rides/jumpy house, the 5k, and the food vendors all goes to support the band program directly.
The target audience for the We Love Homewood Day event is the entire community of Homewood. There are activities for kids of all ages, as well as parents/adults. This event is a major fundraiser for the Homewood Patriot Band, but is also a social community event that allows families and community leaders the opportunity to interact. The day started at 7am, with the WLHD 5K, which had almost 600 participants. The main event of We Love Homewood Day is the activities in the parks. This where the kids can run around, ride rides, participate in the sidewalk chalk art contest, and socialize. In the middle of the day the Homewood High School band, along with the Homewood Middle School 8th Grade band, perform a 30 minute pep rally in the amphitheatre of the park. The day ends with the WLHD Parade, that end in the downtown Edgewood community of Homewood, where there’s a Block Party that takes place. The We Love Homewood Day Parade marches through the heart of Homewood and ends in the Edgewood community of Homewood. The Block Party last from 6-9pm. There is a live band that does the evening performance, along with couple carnival rides. All of these events are small ways for the community to support the Homewood Band, but also for the band members to give back to the community.
The planning for the May We Love Homewood Day event began in January. The We Love Homewood Day planning committee, which consists of the Homewood Parks and Recreation Director, the Homewood High School Band Director, the Homewood Band Booster Communication Director, Corporate Sponsor:Pepsi, Homewood City Schools Public Relations Coordinator, all meet once a month to discuss the details of the WLHD events.
Overview of Planning and Execution
Chris Cooper- The Homewood High School Band Director, duties included coordinating all the band parent volunteers to help run the jumpy houses and carnival rides. He help set up schedules/shifts for parents to sign up to work each ride. He also coordinated all the activities that involved the band students, such as the We Love Homewood Day pep rally, and the We Love Homewood Day Parade. He also served as a liaison between the We Love Homewood Day 5k coordinator, and the Homewood High School students, faculty, and staff. The time commitment associated to his role, starting in January he would spend about an hour a week related to these various duties. The 2 weeks leading up to the event, he spend at much as 5 hours a week dedicated to We Love Homewood Day activities.
JJ Bischoff- Homewood City Manager (assistant to the mayor)- He was the liaison that help with the financing of the event, along with the Homewood Chamber of Commerce.
Rusty Holley- Homewood Parks and Recreation Manager- along with JJ Bischoff/ the funding, they help coordinate the city works for the park, and streets as it relates to step of rides, bathrooms and trash, and blocking off streets for the 5k and the parade. Their time commitment involved meeting once a month from January to May.
Kim Reeves- Communication Director for the Homewood Patriot Band- Her role was to sit in on the We Love Homewood Day Committee meetings and serves as a liaison/spokesperson for the band in the absence of the the Homewood Band Director.
Merrick Wilson- Homewood City Schools Public Relations Coordinator- her role was to communicate/publize to our school systems and students all the activities and events associated with We Love Homewood Day.
Tools and Resources
The Homewood community if very gracious when it comes to supporting our students in Homewood. This community especially loves the Homewood Patriot Band. They go above and beyond to help make sure the band has what it needs. Some of that support was in the form of manpower from volunteers. The City helped coordinate police officers to help block off streets for the WLHD 5k and the WLHD Parade. Local media and businesses help to advertise the event. Buffalo Rock, the corporate company for Pepsi donated shirts for volunteers. They also donated drinks that we could sale for the event. The best resource for the event is the parents, and students talking about We Love Homewood Day, and getting the word out about the event. When parents and kids are excited about the event, the word gets around, and Homewood families always show up to support.
Marketing and Promotion
We used social media such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We also used digital media, local print media such as “The Homewood Star”, the 4 local news stations in the Birmingham area (WBRC Fox 6, WBAM ABC 33/40, CBS 42, WVTM NBC 13). The best resource we found most effective is “word of mouth”. In the spring, round about March, we start doing more media blizzes in order to help create a buzz about the upcoming We Love Homewood Day. The close we get into April, we began to increase the social media presences to continue to spread the word about We Love Homewood Day.
The Homewood Chamber of Commerce, Homewood Parks and Recreation Board, in partnership with the We Love Homewood Day committee solicits sponsorships that covers the start expenditures for the event. For the events in the park the expenditures are close to $25,000. The expenditures to cover the start up cost of the WLHD 5K are about $6,000.
At this point the event pretty much is a well oiled machine. In the beginning one of the challenges of organizing the We Love Homewood Day event was getting all the parties involved (The Homewood Chamber of Commerce, The Homewood Parks and Recreation Board, and the We Love Homewood Day committee) use to working with each other. Each organization had their idea of how they saw the event taking place. Throughout those early challenges the one thing that help bring everyone together were two things. 1.) That we wanted to have an event that brought the community together. 2.) What was going to be in the best interest of the kids. Those early meeting were tough, but necessary in order to create a successful event.
We believe the success of the Homewood Love Homewood Day event is evident by the amount of community support. From local business donating money, to the amount of parent volunteers that are willing to help make the event a success. The number of attendants continues to increase year after year. Financially this event annually raise between $25,000-$30,000 for our band programs. We Love Homewood Day has become a signature event in the city of Homewood that helps to showcase and support the Homewood band program.
We Love Homewood Day is an event that has brought all aspects of the community together for one common event. It has created a positive impact on the culture of the Homewood community. People from all walks of life come together to celebrity our city. It is truly a “WE LOVE HOMEWOOD Day” event.
Advice for others?
The advice I would give to someone who is looking to replicate an event like “We Love Homewood Day” you must have a vision for how the community and band program can work together to benefit the students.