If you’ve attended a Garden Bloggers Fling during the past 5 years, you might be surprised to know that these well-organized, 3-to-4 day events — packed with private and public garden tours, group lunches and dinners, happy hours, bus transportation, and swag bags — are put together by volunteers, not paid organizers, garden bloggers like yourselves who dedicate many, many hours of their personal time for several months to putting together the best event they can, in order to share the unique beauty and vibe of their home city with their fellow garden bloggers. They have done all this with no central organizing committee to assist them, with no built-in formula for making it all work aside from their own experience in attending a previous Fling. And yet the event has not only continued, it’s grown each year in attendance, publicity, and sponsorships. Think about it: the Fling hasn’t missed a year since its inception, someone new has always stepped up to host, and the events have been consistently well-run. And all without any central organization to build on from one year to the next.
The downside is that each year’s hosts have had to reinvent the wheel with regards to planning, creating a website, getting sponsors, and so on. Also, there’s beginning to be a queue of potential hosts wanting to bring the Fling to their city (a good thing!), and until now there haven’t been any guidelines for deciding where it should go next.
In short, the Fling has grown to the point that an advisory committee is necessary to help oversee certain elements of the annual event. Last year, the planners of the first four Flings discussed the need for an advisory committee to organize and share Fling planning information, maintain a website that can be used by each year’s hosts, help select future Fling locations, and generally facilitate a consistent event. Three former hosts volunteered to serve on that committee: Diana Kirby, Elizabeth Licata, and me (Pam Penick).
Our first goal was to assess what attendees and potential attendees want the Fling to consist of, and we recently surveyed the garden blogging community to that end. (We’ll post the results for you soon.) Next we plan to put together guidelines for organizing the event, as well as work with potential hosts to determine future Fling locations.
We also plan to use this website to give the Fling a permanent home on the web, compiling the info from all the previous Flings into this site, regularly publicizing the event, and providing contact information.
Fling Advisory Committee
We recently expanded the advisory committee to gain broader representation in the garden blogging community and benefit from fresh perspectives and energy. The new members are veteran attendees of multiple Flings and hail from across the country:
Dee Nash Red Dirt Ramblings Guthrie, Oklahoma
Andrea Fox Grow Where You’re Planted College Station, Texas
Gardening with Confidence Raleigh, North Carolina (Joined 10/17/12)
Original members include:
Elizabeth Licata Garden Rant and Gardening While Intoxicated Buffalo, New York
Pam Penick Digging Austin, Texas
We hope you will join us in welcoming the new advisory committee members.
And here’s that contact info I promised:
If you are a garden blogger who is interested in hosting the Fling in the future, please contact me (Pam).
If you are interested in being a sponsor for the next Fling, which will be held in 2013 in San Francisco (dates TBA), please contact Kelly.
And if you are simply interested in reading about past Flings or want to know where the Fling will be held in the future, look for links on the navigation bar at the top of this page.