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Tips for a Successful Small-Town Event

Organizing a community event involves managing numerous intricate components. From budgeting to selecting entertainment, there are a plethora of tasks to tackle. Whether you’re coordinating corporate events or preparing for a small-town festival, these tips will help you host an unforgettable gathering that will be the talk of the town. Once you’ve decided on the basics of your event, these tips can help ensure that it is a roaring success!

Here are our insider tips on securing festival grants, executing successful small-town events, and throwing a lively community function, from Discover West Tourism:

Set Clear Objectives

Setting clear objectives for your event ensures that you invest in activities, vendors, and marketing materials that align with and contribute to the success.  Do you aim to boost rural tourism in your small town or primarily cater to the local community? Are you seeking to showcase a particular initiative, industry, or business? Posing these questions will help you determine which aspects will fit into your event and which will not – creating a cohesive experience reflective of your original vision.

Secure Funding

Arguably the most important aspect of any event is securing funding. Without funding, many events would be unable to get off the ground. With Discover West Tourism, we provide funding to create, support, and develop tourism initiatives. This allows us to enhance and increase local tourism by investing in events like rodeos, sporting tournaments, festivals, and more. 

Once approved, these funds can be used to support a variety of areas, like covering event infrastructure fees, allocating funds for marketing purposes, investing in amenities, etc. Before you complete your application to request funding, make sure you’ve determined what you will be needing the funds for. Check out our blogs to learn more about securing location-specific funding for your event:

Securing funding for your small-town event in Alberta:

Grande Prairie




Securing funding for your small-town event in British Columbia:


Dawson Creek

Fort St. John

Prince George

Start Planning Early

Venues, vendors, and entertainment being booked or unavailable for the date of your event is a hiccup no planner wants to encounter. As much as possible, try to secure important aspects of your event sooner rather than later to prevent any last-minute panic. Planning early can also give you a leg up in terms of finding potential volunteers and staff since more notice often means more availability. Be sure to keep in communication with these individuals and businesses during the lead-up to your event, and reach out for a final confirmation beforehand. 

Offer Diverse Entertainment 

We’ve established that it is a good idea to market to a diverse audience when advertising things such as community events. In turn, it is important to have entertainment that will appeal to a wide demographic of attendees. Successful community events often have a combination of entertainment. For example, to cater to families and young couples, you can offer a dedicated kids’ play area while also featuring local craft brew vendors. This way, you can attract a diverse audience, providing entertainment for children and offering unique beverage options for adults to enjoy.

Utilize Local Resources

Small-town events are a fantastic way to showcase your community’s artists, makers, and innovators. By prioritizing local resources in these events, organizers send a powerful message to the community and beyond: “Hey, there’s some cool stuff here!” This approach not only nurtures local talent and businesses but fosters a sense of pride and belonging among residents. It highlights the unique essence of the community, embracing its distinct character and demonstrating why it is a worthwhile destination to visitors. 

Promote Using Multiple Channels

Leveraging an array of marketing methods gives your event the best chance of people hearing about it. Rather than spending your entire marketing budget on one type of advertising, you can reach different audiences and demographics. Additionally, employing multiple channels enables you to reinforce your messaging – creating a consistent presence across different touchpoints. 

Plan for Problems

Things don’t always go to plan, and it is better to be ready for the possible. Prepare for unexpected situations by having a backup plan in case of bad weather, technical difficulties, or other unforeseen circumstances. Consider having alternative indoor venues or a rain date if applicable. 

Gather Feedback 

Following your undoubtedly amazing event, make sure to follow up with your attendees, vendors, volunteers, and anyone else who may have feedback! If you are planning to coordinate another event in the future, this can be priceless information that will help you do even better next time. Regardless, following up can help you build relationships in the community – further benefiting your event’s original objectives. 

For more information about securing funding for your small-town event, tournament, or festival visit