Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Open thread: Harvest Homecoming and Fringe Fest recaps?

Whatever else Harvest Homecoming does or does not mean, the festival's autumnal timing usually suggests the end of outdoor season. I'm trying to resist this notion, and to continue cycling and walking outdoors for as long as possible. We'll see how that goes. Three weeks of eating- and drinking-related debauchery cost me a couple of pounds. Not a bad trade, actually.

Early numbers on Fringe Fest seem to be pointing toward a wash in terms of money. The longer it rained, the greater the inevitability that proceeds would be mediocre. However, I believe it went well in the intended, artistic sense, and you never feel bad about breaking even if doing so brings new customers and provides the service (something different from the norm in music, beer and food) intended.

One reality impacting all future outdoor Bank Street events is the status of the parking spaces where we've been erecting the tent. In an effort to over-simplify, I'll say merely that the state of Indiana's alcohol dispensing playbook does not lend itself to rationality when it comes to how we serve beers and where visitors are allowed to move. Fair enough, and it's something we all know going into it. Making seating, movement and serving more rational is the goal, so we'll be considering all options this winter.

As we do, I have a question: Does Bank Street Brewhouse really need the ten or so remaining parking places in the lot? Are we ready to be this urban? If these parking spaces were replaced by something approximating a beer garden, would it be hurting us?

Consider this an all-purpose thread on Harvest Homecoming, Fringe Fest, and related issues. I'll be back later today.


dan chandler said...

I worked the DNA booth for four hours Saturday morning. Lots of lookers; not many buyers. That was the sentiment at many of the neighboring booths too. Sales seemed not to be what they had been in years past, even on the day when it was sunny and blue skied.

Given the uncooperative weather AND the recession, if you broke even, I think that speaks pretty well for the event. Keep refining the formula. Neither the sky nor the economy can rain every year.

BTW, I’ve never used the north parking lot. Not once. I’m sure that if you expand, your venue will be more than endless picnic tables under a tent (like say Joe’s Older Than Dirt). Whether you incorporate an outdoor water feature, a living wall, interesting LED lighting, or who knows what, I’m eager to enjoy the final product while dining al fresco next year.

dan chandler said...

How about a "just for fun" contest, ideas for the parking lot?

Amy said...

This was my first Harvest Homecoming as a New Albany resident and I would say overall it was a success. Last year I attended Fringe Fest as a volunteer and wandered into the crowds for what I was told were the best Chicken and Dumpling’s. Besides the clowns I enjoyed festivities this year. The money Matt and I took was strictly for progressive pints and fried things. Most likely a common theme across the crowd.

Do away with the parking lot….We have never parked there. I do think that maybe one or two handicap spots would be appreciated.

B.W. Smith said...

You know my thoughts on this - biergarten > 10 parking spots.

Once in a while, when the weather is real nasty and cold, someone might complain about having to walk...and 90% of those people will still come in for the pint.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

I'm a lousy parking lot divining rod as I'm usually on foot but I'd guess that if anybody's customer base gets the urban thing, it's yours.

If on site parking is a requirement for the success of BSB-sized businesses, the entire downtown is doomed to failure. Amy makes a good point about accessibility, though.

Otherwise, lots of questions about potential beer garden uses and focus.

Iamhoosier said...

C'mon people. I can't believe that I am the first one to think of the perfect solution.

Have Doug build you a parking garage.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

How about if we have Doug build everyone a parking garage? We could even do a nice plaza on top with a multimodal transportation hub that would serve the public for decades.

Oh, wait...

Daniel S said...

I thought Hoosier was being booted from the blog...as we say back home, shucks.

Iamhoosier said...

For once, I agree with you Daniel. We all would be better off if I was banned.

Guess you need to talk with management.

Daniel S said...

No way