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Remember, summer events represent the community

by: STAFF PHOTO J. BRIAN MONIHAN

Lake Oswego held a great party this weekend - the Festival of the Arts. Hopefully you attended and invited some of your neighbors and friends along, as it was previewed in our newspaper.

Community festivals not only provide for a great quality of life for local residents, they also offer a tremendous marketing opportunity to showcase the community and its local businesses.

The Festival of the Arts kicked Lake Oswego's tourism season into high gear. This free event, which drew thousands June 24, 25 and 26, costs more than $250,000 to produce. The festival's all-volunteer team covers this cost through sponsorships, donations and art purchases.

With the Lakewood Center for the Arts taking the lead and huge support from the city of Lake Oswego, the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce, the Lake Oswego Review and numerous local businesses and civic groups; it took a total community effort - both public and private - to make this great event happen.

Which is why treating festival guests to a great time is so important. The team of volunteers that donated so much of its time to the festival did an outstanding job.

As a community though, everyone in Lake Oswego needed to rally together to put on their public relations hats too.

Parking spaces were at an all-time premium this weekend. Festival organizers did a great job of organizing shuttle bus options for attendees, but the number of 'No Arts Fest Parking' signs - though understandable to protect the rights of homeowners and businesses - came across as negative. Organizers may want to consider adding more or larger signs directing people where to park or where to take the shuttle buses instead of telling them where not to. Even adding the word 'please' to the no parking signs would help achieve the goal of making Lake Oswego more welcoming.

Lake Oswego residents also need to step up and act as community hosts for these types of events. These festivals showcase its community, and Lake Oswegans all need to make sure everyone who makes the effort to attend an event has a great time and feels welcome. When they do, hopefully they'll be back to shop local stores, dine in local restaurants and pump some much-needed dollars into the local business community.

In the coming months, Lake Oswego will play host to a number of ongoing activities and summer events, including the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market, weekly summer concerts and a ton of other events organized by Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department.

These events are opportunities to showcase the city and why it's so special. Let's focus on the positives and try to find solutions to the parking problems that don't drive people away from Lake Oswego. We have so much to brag about.