It all started when…
The initial idea for a festival-like, outdoor music concert came from the community. In 2013, Brookings Economic Development Corporation conducted a Charrette comprised of small focus groups representative of all ages and cross-sectors of the Brookings population, as well as a community-wide survey. The results clearly reflected the want and need for a festival-like community event and central gathering place for all ages.
In 2014, the current Mayor (Tim Reed), City Manager (Jeff Weldon), Convention & Visitors Bureau Director (Jennifer Johnson) and Downtown Brookings Incorporated Director (Kristin Heismeyer) came together to discuss strategies for implementing a music festival, as well as spent time vetting and ultimately hiring event consultant Annie Creek, LLC, based in Spearfish, South Dakota.
It takes an estimated 104 staff and volunteer hours each week to coordinate, set-up, and run the event. However, this does not include prior planning which takes place February through June.
The first summer was amazing, exciting, and a lot of hard work. The people of Brookings showed their love and support for the event. But the second summer almost never happened. While the organizations involved shifted, a variety of unforeseen circumstances put the event in a position of limbo. In 2015, it was a collective decision by city leaders and the CVB Board to move forward with planning and executing the event, with the CVB organization leading the charge. For four years the CVB staff of three, four event interns, one downtown business representative and one extraordinary community volunteer (read on to hear more!) have executed the event from beginning to end.
Fast forward to the summer of 2019 and the CVB is passing the baton. The new Downtown Director Ashley Biggar is taking the helm, under the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce, and bringing the Chamber staff with her. Some of you might recognize Ashley as our loyal (and original) volunteer face painter. She’s the real OG since day one of the first committee meeting in 2014. It continues to take a dedicated team to make this event happen and we wouldn’t be as successful without the support of the City of Brookings and First Bank & Trust.
A special thank you to all the community members, business owners, and visitors for making Downtown at Sundown what it is today!