Special Events Committee formed

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The city of Belen is banning together with community members to help event organizers bring larger events to the Hub City and boost attendance to annual activities.

The purpose behind the Special Events Committee, consisting of more than 20 city employees and community members, is to streamline upcoming events, to give visitors a full package of what Belen has to offer, as well as create publicity around upcoming events and collect sponsorships or donations to make those events even bigger.

The Special Events Committee came about after the 29th annual St. Patrick's Day Balloon Rallye saw a low turnout compared to previous years because of a lack of publicity and conflicting events scheduled for the same day around town, said Steve Tomita, the city's planning and economic development director.

The committee was created in late March after city department heads met to help community organizers with such problems, Tomita said.

"We've got to do a better job and we need to consolidate special events to get better organized, publicize, promote, get sponsors and find out how we can beef them up," which he said the committee is designed to address.

The committee, which has met a handful of times, generated a two-page list of events throughout the year in the Hub City to consolidate the information in one place. This way committee coordinators can work together to publicize large citywide events with various activities happening at the same time that visitors could enjoy while in the area.

"We've never coordinated anything to be all together where there's a lot more participation with lots of big opportunities," he said.

Each month, members will create special themes to "create a scene" for the events. Each member will then spearhead a certain month's events and delegate responsibilities surrounding the events to its members.

For example, the organization is looking to hold an event in Belen during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October, which tourists can then travel to and from on the New Mexico Rail Runner. Proposed events members threw around for that time include a brew fest, cookoff, bluegrass bands festival, model railroad and orchard tour.

Although the city has initiated this committee, the goal is to hand it over to community members to create a self-sustaining group that can generate revenues to either boost existing events or create new ones, Tomita said.

The committee is choosing a name and brand for itself, as well as undergoing the process to receive their 501(c)3 nonprofit status to accept donations and sponsorships for upcoming events.

For more information about the Special Events Committee, contact Tomita at 966-2745.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.