Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Year of Living Frugally-BYOC, and Free

One of the things I love the most about summer, are all of the many outdoor public events. I especially like those events, that are free to the public. Most of these are BYOC-Bring Your Own Chair. I have a few of the area local event calendars bookmarked on my computer. Every week I go in, and see what is going on. Concerts in the park, fireworks, outdoor movies, parades. We're there. I think most people would be surprised at all that there is to do, if you take the time to look for the events. Living in the Quad Cities, there are many small towns in the surrounding area, and it seems each has it's own set of summer events. Some weekends, it is not a choice of what should we do, but what should we not do. It seems that many weekends have so many events, it is difficult to decide. Here are the Seven Simple Rules for BYOC Events:

1) Bring a comfortable, yet lightweight chair-preferably with a cup holder in one of the arms. Keep in mind, you may need to park several blocks from where the event is taking place, and you do not want a chair that is to heavy to carry for an extended length of time.

2) Sunscreen and bug repellent are a must. I just keep mine in the bag along with my chair. Be very liberal with both. A ball cap and sunglasses are a good idea as well.

3) Bring a small throw, or blanket. This can keep your feet out of wet or buggy grass, or, if it is chilly, keep you warm.

4) Get there early, and have a picnic. Most events will allow you, or even encourage you to bring your own food. Make it a special outing by bringing a picnic. You can pack sandwiches and salad in containers in a backpack, along with a cold pack to keep it fresh.

5)Be a good BYOC neighbor. Be aware that you are sharing space with many other people. Don't be rude by talking over the entertainment, or using your cell phone during a BYOC event. Also, if you realize you are obstructing someones view, offer to move your chair over so they can see or hear better. During downtime, do chat with the people around you, but don't be intrusive.

6) If you bring your dog, or children, keep an eye on them. Nothing is more embarassing than your dog taking a whiz on someones chair, or your child helping themselves to food off of someone else picnic blanket. I've seen both happen-not cool. 

7) Clean up after yourself! Most parks, and events have limited staff or volunteers, and clean up after an event can be quite an undertaking! Pick up all your litter, and throw it away, or take it home with you to dispose. Look around, and if you see trash, pick it up! Make it easier for the event organizers to want to do this again.

Those rules seem simple enough. Lastly, if you go to an event, and you enjoy it, let the event organizers know. Most every organization or event has a website, and it takes a few seconds to Google it. Give your thanks and your kudos and show support for their hard work. After all, your free entertainment probably cost someone else hours and hours of organization and preparation. A thank you is the least you can give them in return. 

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