NEW YEAR’S EVE BOOT DROP CREATING A PRESCOTT, ARIZONA TRADITION
A candid Interview with Boot Drop Co-Founder, Donna Werking of Northern AZ Social, LLC
HOW DID THE NEW YEAR’S EVE BOOT DROP BEGIN?
In late 2009, Donna Werking was aiding the City of Prescott’s Tourism team partnered with a local advertising agency as an independent marketer. “A desired goal was to increase bed tax dollars for the city. At the time, there was a lack of events held in Prescott after Acker Night. The tourism gap ran from mid-December through March.” After many conversations over the course of the year between Werking and a local Prescott Ad Agency, two more partners were brought on to expedite this new venture: Great Circle Radio and the Prescott Chamber. “Together, we launched this signature New Year’s Eve Event for Prescott, Arizona” stated Donna Werking, owner of Northern AZ Social, LLC and Boot Drop Co-Founder.
She continues, “Before aiding the City of Prescott, I recently held the position as Director of Corporate Sales with the Arizona Sundogs Hockey Club. A large part of my position was to create new events and promotions for the team. This new venture was another welcomed challenge for me. Working with the city as a marketer was exciting! I was eager with much time on my hands. Bringing a new tradition to our community became a goal we all set to achieve.”
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO DROP A BOOT?
“As a former student at Northern Arizona University, the “Pinecone Drop” was a fresh experience in my mind. I thought dropping a boot was a concept well-suited for our town. A horseshoe was initially proposed but I didn’t think that made sense logistically. I created the first website, Bootdrop.net to conceptualize the event and presented a PowerPoint with a Boot as the main centerpiece. It took some months of convincing but was soon adopted by my cohorts. Over the course of a year, much research was done to assure that no one was dropping a boot across the nation. Although, I did find that the City of Key West dropped an over-sized high heel shoe! It was a laborious year of planning, and it was certainly no easy feat. We thank Stephan Markov of Morgan Signs for creating the beautiful boot design. Also, Great Circle Radio for their huge level of support with sponsorships and talent for so many years!”
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE HARDSHIPS YOU ENCOUNTERED?
“Before the inaugural Boot Drop event in 2011, we endured eight months of planning with no guarantee of profitability, or even success. The logistical hardships included working with a skeleton crew of partners, and it was all volunteer. I led the efforts that included pitches to City Parks and Recreation, budget management, road closures, city requirements, city stage, vendors, infrastructure design, press releases, website, social media and digital platforms. I negotiated courthouse usage via the Prescott Downtown Partnership, security, porta-johns to fire lanes. I scouted the Palace roof top as the drop location. I also collected the necessary signatures from downtown businesses to seek their approvals. We all sold sponsorships to cover the cost of the event. Some members contributed their own funds to see this through. We broke-even on operational expenses for the first three years. On the event day, I recruited my friends and family to assist with the infrastructure set up.
My husband personally donated tables, electrical cords, and equipment for vendors to pull off the first-ever Boot Drop event. It was an arduous process that involved much red tape, detail, and endless hours of planning. I still reminisce over how just a few of us pulled this through. We proudly hold the Boot Drop archive of planning records at my agency.”
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE NEW YEAR’S EVE BOOT DROP EVENT?
“I am very proud to see how the Boot Drop event has grown today. It is wonderful to see that our city embraces the Boot Drop as a signature event. My agency has been providing survey studies for the Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC) to prove its positive impact on our community. That was our initial goal from the start. The Boot Drop has had many homes in its inception and has lived with M & M Entertainment as the event organizer for the last decade. For everyone involved who believed in the event and dedicated their time, I can say our effort has truly paid off. I hope to see the event around for many more years to come.” The event is held every year on December 31st, downtown Prescott, AZ.