With its Sunday’s record-breaking attendance of 1.5 million, why is Taste of the Danforth so successful? We asked Howard Lichtman, who coordinates marketing, sponsorship, programming and media relations for this Greek event. He replied:
The success is based on the fact that Canadians embrace their multiculturalism and they love to experience Greektown and the Greek heritage. Further, many of the restaurateurs and retailers are family-owned businesses and not chains. This creates a special welcoming atmosphere. It is like being invited into someone’s home. Further, there is the amazing free entertainment, a wide variety for every age and taste. Finally, people love the Festival because of food, food and more food.
The Festival receives very little grant money compared to the other festivals. Only from the Ontario government. There is a small staff of three year-round employees and a dedicated group of volunteer board members. The board is chaired by Constantine Voidonicolas. He devotes endless hours of his personal time to the Festival.
The Immortals were perfect sponsors as the film is a story of Greek Gods and Greek mythology.
Another reason for our success is our amazing media sponsors. The Toronto Star is our print partner as is the Toronto Community newspapers. We do place other ads in papers like the Globe and Mail and Greek papers etc., but the Star is our main print sponsor. They are Toronto’s largest circulation paper and are Toronto focused, so they are the perfect fit.
We have a number of other media sponsors such as CP24 and CTV for broadcast. They are dream media partners who work closely with us to create fun content for their viewers and great awareness for us. This year we ran a “Taste of the Taste” event on site in their outdoor facility where we featured Greek dancers, Greek music, several Tasting stations and great prizes from our sponsors. We also gave away two trips to Greece for two from Transat Holidays during the two weeks prior to the Festival, with them tied to Greek-themed contests.
We have a number of radio sponsors, such as Classic 96.3, News Talk 1010, Durham radio stations, etc. Toronto.com is our media sponsor for on-line awareness and they run our information booths at the Festival. CBS Outdoors has been a long-time supporter.
Can other festivals learn something from the Danforth?