As I write this post, the Capitol is in the midst of its production run of Spamalot, and I can hear the Canalfest fireworks in the distance. The big weekend for Honor America Days has just passed, the Yoga Life Festival will be this weekend in Stittville, Wednesday’s Farmers Market was lovely as ever, and so many great things are happening around town and around the region. Anyone who says there is nothing to do in the Mohawk Valley must be living underground (though who knows, maybe there are things going on there, too!).
The second weekend in August is always one of my favorites. I am very fortunate to have a job that brings people joy and excitement, and this weekend we will be hosting joyous, excited people from all over the country. Where many people have thankless jobs, I would say I have one of the most thankful jobs that there is.
Capitolfest started as an idea by film festival goers who were seeking to improve on the typical film festival experience. For those of you who aren’t film festival attendees, I would liken film festivals to endurance races: You almost have to train for the long hours sitting on uncomfortable chairs in the dark, watching films that often vary in entertainment value, with short breaks and shorter options for sustenance. Dedicated festivalphiles aim for their personal best each festival, seeing just how many films they can watch in uncomfortable conference center seating before their eyes glaze over and their internal battery dies. One barely has time to socialize with the friends that they have somehow made over the course of several festivals, and they often have to choose between seeing a coveted movie and grabbing a short bite with someone they see once a year. At that, you can’t even guarantee that you’ll be back in time for your favorites; between overwhelmed restaurants and off-schedule sessions, festival time seems like a strange, film-laden rabbit hole.
Our festival founders thought, why not make it pleasant? Guaranteed quality movies, longer breaks, time to socialize, keeping on schedule while seated on comfortable chairs in a real historic movie theatre come together for a wonderful summer treat. Capitolfest has certainly grown from that concept to become a much-loved mecca for early film fans and casual moviegoers alike. Hard-core film fans bring indulgent but interested spouses, long-time film fan parents bring their neophyte children, locals meet up with friends that they’ve made from around the country at Capitolfests past, and everyone has a great time. Nearly 100% of people on our surveys say they will be returning; those who don’t are merely unsure of scheduling conflicts.
As Romans, we’re blessed to be part of a community that our patrons love coming to. Exclamations of the friendliness of Romans, the wealth of history, and the beauty of the landscape and surrounding areas, are all regular occurrences at Capitolfest. On the flip side, our local businesses benefit, as many of our patrons are choosing to spend three days (and often more) exploring everything Rome has to offer. If you see a Capitolfest badge floating around town this weekend, be sure to give the wearer a warm welcome. Judging from the word of mouth recommendations that we are always hearing about when people register, I reckon that these folks are some of our best out-of-town ambassadors for the Positively Rome spirit.