Well Fibertown Fest has come and gone and it has been a wild time. Fibertown Fest set out to do what we had intended. Get votes for Holland, inform the public, and generate interest. In my opinion we accomplished all three. The whole process of getting Fibertown Fest up and running is remarkable and I am not even sure how it happened.
It all started on Friday March 12th when I posted the following blog post “ROUND 2 – The Battle for Google Fiber Network: Holland vs. Grand Rapids” in which I asked why Holland had so little public support from the city on their bid for Google Fiber. City council member Brian Burch stumbled upon my blog and left a comment on Monday March 15th notifying that the city is planning a response, and wanted to start a dialog with me. We began exchanging emails and phone calls on Monday where we began discussing setting up some sort of event to generate interest and votes in Holland. Brian encouraged me to take this on, and said he could help get me in touch with people to make this happen. From there, I spoke with Tom Pietri at Holland Image House about holding an event to promote Google Fiber in Holland. Tom and I then developed a plan for a signup drive event and Brian put us in touch with some resources, and committed the support of the city council to help at the event. Additionally Tom had already been working with Julie Thompson at Holland BPW in developing a poster for the event and working on getting these posters hung in local area businesses. Within 5 days we were able to set up an event at New Holland Brewing Company, have the support (and laptop computers for voting) of city council and Holland BPW employees, promote the event, send out a press release, get interviewed, get raffle prizes from local businesses, and make the event a success. Somehow everything came together. The city council members and the BPW employees brought their laptops and agreed to help people register for a Gmail account and vote for Holland. They were also on-hand to answer any questions that people may have had, and all in all it was a great event. We had registered over 100 people during our four hour event. In addition to that we spoke with Blake Throne a reporter from the Holland Sentinel, had a news crew from WZZM come and do a story on the event.
Talking to people voting was great, some of them came to New Holland Brewing Company just to vote after reading about it in the newspaper, other people voted after sitting down for a meal. It was great to see so many different people, young and old all wanting the same thing, a better Holland. I am just hopeful that all the people who were in attendance will spread the word and encourage more of their neighbors, friends and families to vote. Also the extra publicity we gained.
All in all I would like to thank the following people and business for their help in making this happen: Tom Pietri at Holland Image House (for designing graphics, knocking on doors, and spreading the word) Brian Burch and the entire City Council, Brett VanderKamp and the team at New Holland Brewing Company (hosting the event), Holland Litho (for printing out posters of the event, and Julie Thompson at all the other Holland BPW employees who have been involved in Holland’s bid for Google fiber from the beginning (they submitted Holland’s bid to Google’s RFI (Request For Information), set up the TakeMeToFiberTown.com website, Facebook page, YouTube, Twitter, and Billboards).
I would also like to thank the following area businesses for their donations for the raffle that was held for voters at FiberTown.
I still don’t know how we pulled off FiberTown Fest in 5 days. If you haven’t voted yet, please do so here: http://www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/public/options
Photos of the event can be found at Holland Image House.