One day we had the idea to host a big award ceremony. Why the heck not – we liked the idea and with Totally Locally you can just do stuff so we did…. an Oscars for local businesses!
We asked the good people of Calderdale to vote for their favourite shop. We expected a couple of hundred entries – we had thousands. It got a little out of hand. What started out as a little stunt ended up as a huge celebration night, with over 250 businesses plus friends attending, Vegas Elvis and band did a set that included sex pistols and AC/DC covers – in an Elvis stylee of course – it was buzzing.
This is when we fully realised Totally Locally had some magic to it.
We fed hundreds of people, we had a beautiful venue in The Works in Sowerby Bridge, we gave out trophies, everyone left with a gift box of locally made soaps by Yorkshire Soap, the band played. The mayor turned up unannounced, and we had a complete ball. But the thing that was most amazing- the whole thing cost £120! This is because no-one would take payment. No-one. They said “This is about all of us, it’s our awards, and we’re not taking payment.” People wouldn’t let us.
Businesses who could never in a million years dream of winning a business award, got one. We even made a couple up. The “Totally Locally Choice Award” and the “Because We Can” award. Because it was our award ceremony, and we can choose our favourites too.
People still talk about it years later, some businesses still proudly display their certificates in their shops. It seemed to distill everything that was magic about the whole campaign. A celebration of People and their connection to the place they live and work.
The evening was such a huge smash, we added an Awards nomination posters and event flyers in the Town Kit for inspiration, every town should do this!