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MainStreet Roswell to present at national conference

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Kathy Lay, executive director of MainStreet Roswell, will make a presentation at a national conference on event organization methods, using the UFO Festival as an example. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The head of MainStreet Roswell will be one of the presenters at a session at a national MainStreet conference.

Kathy Lay, executive director of MainStreet Roswell, said that she and New Mexico Main Street Promotions and Image Development Coordinator and Revitalization Specialist Robyne Beaubien have been invited to talk about event coordination using Google docs and showcasing the UFO Festival for the Main Street Now 2020 conference in Dallas in May.

“Out of This World Event Organization and More” will share with conference attendees how MainStreet Roswell has utilized online Google documents as a way of organizing information and events by providing instant access via computer or phone to those who need it, which could include board members or participating organizations or entities.

The method began as a way of coordinating with the 25-plus groups that are part of the annual UFO Festival, Lay said, allowing them to have contact numbers for each other, see which media outlets were attending, determine which vendors were involved and access many other pages of information about the event that takes place over several days and occurs in numerous venues in the city.

Since then, MainStreet Roswell has used the documents, which can be shared with various degrees of access to various users, for many other projects, including gathering information from board members on strategic planning and its memorandum of agreement with the city of Roswell, and tracking the value of “earned media” the organization has received from newspaper coverage, radio interviews and TV stories.

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“I started sharing this with other MainStreet groups when we would go to quarterlies (meetings),” she said. “So Robyne said we should present it at nationals.”

Beaubien said that many organizations use Google docs but that she thinks that MainStreet Roswell has “taken it to the next level.”

“The use of a Google sheet for the UFO Festival is an excellent example of how to implement a very large and complicated event, and communicate with event partners,” she said. “I believe that their method is, first of all, a great example of best practices for event management, and, secondly, an excellent use of a free resource. Since most MainStreet organizations are nonprofits with limited budgets, the MainStreet Now conference is an exciting opportunity to share what MainStreet Roswell has successfully implemented.”

Lay said she will provide a link to conference attendees so that they can download templates for their own organizations.

Lay also has been notified that the International UFO Museum and Research Center mural project that MainStreet Roswell and the museum organized together will be featured in an upcoming newsletter of the National Main Street Center, which runs the Main Street America program.

The mural on the north wall of the UFO Museum depicts a hovering spacecraft with a ramp and open door and has been designed as a place for people to take group photos and selfies. A social media campaign promoting the mural will be launched by MainStreet Roswell soon, with a winner selected in July among eligible posters and bloggers to receive UFO- or Roswell-related prizes.

The campaign is meant to boost tourism to Roswell and shopping within the city.

“It encourages people who are driving nearby to come by here,” Lay said. “We also are leveraging that (the mural) so that people who are at the museum won’t just leave after visiting, but will stay for a selfie and, hopefully, do some shopping while they’re here.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.