National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interior
Partnership header Making music at the Ashville festival, Blue Ridge Parkway
125th Birthday Celebration and Site's 35th Anniversary

Description: 2003 marks the anniversary of Carl Sandburg's birth 125 years ago and the 35th anniversary of the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in Flat Rock, North Carolina. In anticipation of the special year, park staff, the Friend's Board of Directors, and members of the business community began planning early in January 2002 a slate of 2003 special events. The community celebration partnership was forged to plan and coordinate special activities which would share the Sandburg legacy with a diverse array of residents and visitors.

Over fifty area businesses, nearly seventy regional authors, and over one hundred volunteers have been critical to ensuring the success of the year-long celebration and the full calendar of events.

Area businesses provided funding to underwrite the cost for events, in-kind services, donations of items, and publicity support. Regional and local authors participated in the first-ever Sandburg Celebration of Books and Authors. Volunteers from the community contributed their time and talent to planning and assisting with the events.

Geographic area covered: Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.

List of Partners and Relationships: The primary partnership team for planning and coordination consisted of the National Park Service - Carl Sandburg Home NHS, Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara, and Eastern National.

Accomplishments to date: Numerous celebratory events, including:

  • Winter Gold, an evening celebration on Sandburg's birthday at Melange Bed and Breakfast with John Akers performing Sandburg and Segovia.
  • An evening with Penelope and Jennifer Niven, the renowned Sandburg biographer and her daughter.
  • Sandburg Celebration of Books and Authors, celebrating the art of writing at a book fair.
  • Sandburg Birthday Celebration at Connemara, enjoying songs, storytelling, ice cream, and an evening concert on the grounds.
  • Hendersonville Symphony performs "Lincoln Portrait".
  • Wickwire Gallery and Hand and Hand Gallery exhibits featuring art celebrating Sandburg's Connemara.

Key success factors:

  1. Began planning one entire year in advance.
  2. Dedicated, enthusiastic park staff, Friends, and volunteers.
  3. Supportive community. Outreached to new partner groups inviting them to participate in the celebration

Frustrations: Needed more computer skilled volunteers. Needed more publicity in major outlying cities. Continual refinement of the Friends committee structure so that the major work activities fall to the various committees rather than to the Friends Board of Directors.

Most important lessons learned to date: Most everyone enjoys joining in on a celebration. A special anniversary or park observance is a perfect opportunity to reach out to new potential park partners. If the celebration partnership is successful, it can serve as the foundation for an expanding partnership role in the future.

What would you do differently next time: If time and volunteer assistance had permitted, we would have reached out to even more community business partners/underwriters, and we would have increased our publicity efforts in the outlying cities of Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.

Suggested resource materials(related to the case study): Training Course titled "Developing and Working with Friends Groups" offered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the National Conservation Training Center, 40 hours.

Training Course titled "Parks and Partners - Building a Margin of Excellence" offered by National Park Service - Southeast Region, Partnership Office, 24 hours.

For more information:

Name: Connie Hudson Backlund
Affiliation: Superintendent, Carl Sandburg Home NHS
Phone/Fax: 828-693-4178 / 828-693-4179

Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)

Fundraising _X_; Capital Improvements __; Facility Management __; Trails __; Design __; Program Delivery __; Visitor Services __; Tenant Organizations __, Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration __; Cultural Resources __; Education/Interpretation __; Arts _X_; Information Services __; Transportation __; Mutual Aid __; Fire Management __; Planning __; Tourism __; Community Relations _X_;

Other: Park Celebrations

Prepared by: Connie Hudson Backlund Date posted: 10/14/03
Phone: 828-693-4178

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