So let's begin - CarolinaFest 2009. The Skydive Carolina management team has been hard at work planning this event with the goal of bringing a great quality event to the national stage on the east coast. The dates are set and we have some great organizers all ready to go. Before moving any further, undoubtedly there is an elephant in the room that many will be discussing soon and that is SkyFest. What's the deal?
Well here it is.....Skydive Carolina hosted SkyFest 2008 and we had a great time doing it. We didn't see 100% eye to eye with the creator of SkyFest on a few issues and it was determined that the future of SkyFest at Skydive Carolina would be no longer....there was no drama or tears...that's the way it was....we move on. One thing that SkyFest taught us was that we can host an event of that size and it be a success. The staff at Skydive Carolina really went above and beyond to make that event a good time with the coordination of the event itself, orchestrating the sponsorship of more than 500 (572 to be exact) free jumps, entertainment, meals etc..(all the things that go along with putting on a big event plus much more like highway billboards etc). Having had so much fun with SkyFest, it occurred to us that there are very few large events anymore that give you that mini-convention feel as was felt at SkyFest on the east coast. So, we decided we would create our own event....CarolinaFest. Something unique to this area and that would become a staple for years to come in the Carolinas.
Over the summer, we discussed the positives and negatives of what we learned in June and started to put together everything we'd like to see at an event of our own. On November 7th., we announced our dates for the unveiling of CarolinaFest '09. Three weeks later the dates of SkyFest were announced and they happen to fall the week after our event and at Raeford...a DZ two and a half hours away. I was surprised by this as over the years SkyFest has routinely been hosted in mid to late July in Texas. The reason it was hosted in June of 2008 in Chester is because SkyFest signed on to come to Skydive Carolina in January of '08 and heavy aircraft support had already been scheduled for the first week in June.
So....at this point skydivers now have a choice between two pretty big events. My response is go to both if you can and if not, go where you'll have the most fun..both will be fun!
It's unfortunate that both events are back to back, but as a management team, we've decided that we will be not take a negative view of SkyFest but rather wish them huge success. We will run our event with two things in mind: Safety and Fun. Whether 50 people or 500 people come to CarolinaFest..we're going to put as much effort into it to ensure that everyone has a great time and it is one of the best quality and fun boogies ever hosted at Skydive Carolina. Skydiving is too small for disagreements and ugliness. We all skydive because we want to have fun.
That being said, let's stay safe, embrace each other within the skydiving community and have a great time. Mark your calendars for a new staple in the Carolinas - CarolinaFest. It will be hosted every year during the first week in June - we hope to see you there!