Behind the Scenes at the Cedarburg Winter Festival Bed Races!

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

On February 4, the Vollrath Associates team dared to go where no other public relations agency has gone before…

The Cedarburg Annual Winter Festival Bed Races!

Since nearly half the team is from Cedarburg, we figured the town’s winter festival would be a great way to get out of the office and have some fun—and a few laughs. From decorating the bed, to dressing up as Snow White & The Dwarfettes, to walking in the parade and of course, the races, it was quite the eventful day. Luckily for you, we’re brave enough willing to share pictures and our step-by-step secrets for surviving the race success. Who knows, after reading this, maybe you’ll be inspired to put a team together for next year’s races! 

Step 1: Decide on the perfect theme

This year’s festival theme was the Grimm Fairy Tales and we agreed that Snow White and the Dwarfettes would be the best way to incorporate all members of our team. Plus, Phil has been looking for an excuse to be a poisonous apple…

Top L to R: Marilyn, The Evil Queen; Phil, the poisonous apple; Jessica, Snow White and Casey M., Prince Charming. Bottom L to R: Dwarfettes: Casey S., Bashful; Julie, Dopey and Liz, Happy.

Step 2: Tell your friends!

Since we are a public relations firm it’s in our second nature to promote events, even our own! Two weeks before the festival, we created a Mail Chimp e-invite that our contacts were able to engage with using Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, as well as share with their friends. We also promoted the event using our Facebook page and the Twitter hashtag #VABedRaces.

In the days leading up to the festival, and on the event day itself, we tracked our excitement using #VABedRaces. The simple hashtag let our friends and Twitter followers know what the team was up to.

After the races we created a fun YouTube video recapping the weekend, which you can view here!

Step 3: Decorate the bed

Thanks to our creative friends at Hare Strigenz, along with our “stylist” Marian, the bed decorations came together in a flash. To transform our bed into Snow White’s bed, we used custom headboards, a hand-painted quilt, lots of ribbons and other glitzy touches.

Tip: The beds that looked the best didn’t make it very far in the races. If you’re going for the best costume award, go all out with decorations, but if you want to win the race, less is more. Just ask the Boy Scouts (this year’s winners who raced in a go-cart)!

Our bed pre-race. Everyone pitched in to decorate!

Step 4: Practice

The bed races are usually held on ice, but because of this “winter’s” unseasonably warm temperatures, the team didn’t end up racing on skates…we’re thinking that may have been for the best. Our practice involved running up and down the driveway with a bed on wheels the day of as Snow White (aka Jessica) held on for dear life. To be eligible for the race, your team needs four runners (or skaters) and one passenger.

Suggested practice fuel: Bloody Marys

Step 5: The Parade

Smile and have fun! Everyone on the VA team channeled their inner Kate Middleton as we waved to the crowds along the streets. The kids especially loved Snow White and her Prince Charming.

Tip: The parade is the place to win over fans for the bed races to follow. If you’re into bribery, give out good candy (not spoiled apples).

Snow White & The Dwarfettes in the parade.

Step 6: The Bed Races

After lacing up our gym shoes to win our first heat, we lost our second in a close race that came down to the finish line. The team, led by Prince Charming and Happy in the front, ran as fast as our legs could carry us but, in the end, it just wasn’t enough.

While we wish we could say we won the races, we can’t. However, we can say that we tried our hardest.

Casey goes head-to-head with our competitor in the final heat!

Step 7: Relax!

Hash out the X’s and O’s over your beverage of choice at the nearest pub/grill. Cedarburg is home to plenty of cozy establishments perfect for warming up after a long day outside.

What has your team done recently for fun? Do you think out-of-office bonding contributes to better in-office relationships?


Getting Festive at Festa!

August 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Written By Casey Schaak

Ciao amici di Vollrath Associates! Where to begin with the four exciting days of Festa Italiana? A whirlwind of opera, Ferraris, gelato, gondolas, cannoli, rice balls, vino and the Cake Boss. Sorry Phil, I almost forgot to mention amaretto cream puffs! Oh, and fireworks too! And that’s not even the half of it. The biggest cultural festival in Milwaukee was packed full of delicious food, great entertainment and, most importantly, friendly people.

Did I mention that this was work? The VA team coordinated interviews with various media outlets on and off the festival grounds during the week of Festa, as well as the months leading up to it.  While we faced a lot of heat, a little bit of rain and maybe even some sleep depravity, our team enjoyed getting to know the people that make Festa possible, all elements of the festival itself and, of course, the satisfaction every PR pro gets when an article or news segment for your event pops up in the media.

Check out some Festa highlights as the VA team reflects on our favorite moments:

“My favorite part of Festa was the Anthony Crivello performance.  He has a fabulous voice and seeing the Phantom of the Opera in real life was a very special treat.  It was exciting to see a local resident make it to the big time.  He is very down-to-earth and so appreciative of the opportunities he has had.  Anthony is a wonderful role model for young Milwaukee performers and a tribute to our Italian community.”

-Marilyn Vollrath

Anthony Crivello serenading Molly and Tiffany from TMJ's Morning Blend, while Bill Jennaro and Maria Liber enjoy the music and cannoli.

“I really enjoyed trying different Italian food that I haven’t had before, including rice balls and chicken spedeni. The first ever fashion show was a success as well. As always, I had a great time working with the media to promote this fun and exciting cultural event throughout the Festa week.  And lastly, I enjoyed seeing Pauley drive around in his golf cart every day and making me laugh!!!”

-Jessica Vollrath

The VA team bonding over the delicious Italian food.

“Italy is my favorite place. I like the reminders of Italy at Festa Italiana, including the outstanding food and great statues like David at the entrance. The fashion show and gondola rides were outstanding reminisces of Italy and the Amaretto cream puffs were simply an unbeatable attraction of their own.  I also enjoy the family orientation, and the wall of family pictures, which make this festival a family and hometown event. It is a closely attached group and leaves memories until next year.”

-Phil Vollrath

The VA team exploring the sites and the statues at the festival grounds.

“For me, the best part of the four, fun-filled days of Festa Italiana was the music! This year’s line-up did not disappoint with musical offerings including The Monkees, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, SwedTunes Int’l with the Music of ABBA and countless others. It was a special treat to not only meet the Bronx Wanderers, but Anthony Crivello as well! After hearing Anthony Crivello burst into song on the TMJ4 Morning Blend and again at Festa, I knew I had to see him in his leading role. So, I booked a flight to Vegas, and am eagerly awaiting the show in a few weeks!”

-Liz Grams

Kidd O’Shea from 99.1 interviewing the Bronx Wanderers, an Italian band from New York.

“I really enjoyed getting to spend time out of the office with the VA team whether it was running around coordinating media interviews, riding around on golf carts or relaxing at the Guido Lounge! The foodie in me also loved having the excuse to indulge in gelato and shrimp scampi nearly every day. Overall, the weekend was a great success filled with lots of fun and new learning experiences.”

-Julie Caan 

Jessica and Julie checking out the MSOE Lego replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Personally, I loved arriving at the festival grounds at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, coordinating a band, three food and drink venues and a cultural tent to fill eight television segments for two different news stations. While it might not sound like the ideal way to spend a Saturday morning, I enjoyed the thrill and sense of accomplishment I got when seeing the final video clips. I also loved meeting TLC’s Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro!

Liz and I snagging a picture with Buddy Valastro (TLC’s Cake Boss).

To wrap it up: 6 VA team members spending 4 days (not to mention the weeks leading up to it) meeting dozens of great, mostly Italian, people, working with the media and making all PR activities run smoothly at the Henry Maier Festival Grounds resulted in lots of excitement, learning and success!


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