Article by Lisa Ballard - Photos by Johnathon Martin
There are a ton of little pieces that need to come together to pull off a successful event. From the core team, attaining sponsor support and like-minded vendors, the awesome attendees, and the utilization of social media to help create a buzz, lots of these can feel at least somewhat under your control. But the final piece, the one thing completely out of anyone’s control, is the weather. You have to plan and promote with the hopes that the Chopper Gods are on your side for the weekend. All of these critical components came into play for the 16th Annual David Mann Chopper Fest. Event Coordinator Tory DuVarney worked endlessly to attain sponsorship and live music acts. Sean McKean invited some of the best artists to take part in the David Mann and Friends Art Show and is the vendor liaison. I recruited artists to take part in the Biltwell Helmet Show and assist with the social media cross-promotion. Matt Grayson organized the van section, bringing additional eye-candy with some of the best custom vans around. Christina DuVarney and her excellent on-site team help place the vendors and welcome the general public with grace. They are a well-oiled machine that never misses a beat and eliminates issues with ease! Last but not least is sweet Jennifer Santolucito, who keeps the party going with her top-notch hosting capabilities.
Over the years, we have had some of the best weather possible, but Mother Nature had a different plan for the 16th Annual Chopper Fest. You see, it started raining on Monday and never stopped. The chance of rain went from 50 to 100 percent at any given time. Tory had to make the difficult decision to either postpone or cancel the event altogether. He chose to go on to help the artists and vendors who traveled to attend the show. Some vendors took the opportunity to set up on Saturday, while others lined super early Sunday morning to tackle the rain. Another wrench thrown at the team was corralling everyone into the area as the fairgrounds booked another event on the same day. But if you know The DuVarneys, you know issues are never problems, they are an opportunity to tackle and overcome.