John F. Schaffner
Things might not always work perfectly the first time around, but the City of Sandy Springs is still young and learning and keeps finding ways to improve from one year to another.
A perfect example of this recently took place in the city with the marriage of two events — the Taste of Sandy Springs and criterium-style bicycle races — which both fell somewhat flat as separate events in the city in 2007.
Last year a mere handful of people other than bike racers turned out to watch the day-long circling of pro bicyclists chasing each other. The 2007 Taste of Sandy Springs, nestled down in the hollow of Sandy Springs Circle behind the Parkside Shopping Center, drew more people, but many asked the question: Isn’t there something more to this?
The marriage of the two mini events into a major event for 2008, made Sunday, May 4 a special day in Sandy Springs.
Much of the thanks for that goes to City Councilwoman Diane Fries and Mayor Eva Galambos, who conjured up the marriage of the two events while sitting almost alone in the VIP tent at the bicycle races in 2007 and decided it had to be better in 2008 if the city was going to put its name to it.
Combining the casual dining experiences from a variety of some of Sandy Springs’ fine food purveyors with the excitement of well-toned athletes circling on sleek biking machines, created an excitement the city needs to exude with all of its events. It gives a reason for many to come and visit us.
But what was the reaction of the vendors who set up shop near Heritage Green and the racers who kept running circles around them?
Councilwoman Fries relayed to us what she heard.
“The event was extremely successful and the partnership with the Global BMW Sandy Springs Challenge and the Taste of Sandy Springs benefited all. Having the two events together seemed to have the Taste of Sandy Springs patrons stay the afternoon to enjoy the exciting criterium races and the vendors said they could tell a difference.”
Some food vendors told Fries that “they sold 10 times the number of tickets as they did last year.
“The pro racers said that the course was very technical, but the roads were in excellent condition and they enjoyed it,” Fries added. She also said the 62-mile metric century fun ride was well attended and got great reviews.
Fries, who played a major role in the coordinating the bicycle events, commented, “The Crit Race Finale was a huge undertaking but worth every moment. As I like to say: ‘It was a wonderful day in the Springs.’”
That is a comment we heard echoed by many who participated. Congratulations to Sandy Springs for again making something bigger and better for all its residents and visitors.