During my year-and-a-half in nursing home hell, I had to plan, promote, publicize and pull-off a beauty pageant for my residents so we could take the winner to the regional pageant. Never having been to a pageant, much less in one, I was kind of at a loss. Thankfully, one of the girls in the office, Kacey, had a lot of pageant experience and was actually excited about helping out.
We got businesses to donate prizes, contacted families to see if they wanted their resident to participate, ordered flowers for the winner, found guest judges and an emcee, ordered crowns, decorated sashes, the list goes on. You get the idea. And of course, since family members and the public were present, we had a party afterwards, which I also had to coordinate and have set up. (At least the kitchen staff took care of the food prep.) Fortunately, it was around Valentine's Day, so we had a decorating theme that was relatively easy to execute for both the pageant and the party.
Thirty residents wound up participating, 23 women and 7 men. Can I tell you how hard it was to make sure that everyone got a prize that was unique to them? That everyone got a question that they would be able to answer? That the aides made sure that the right people were washed and dressed up their Sunday best if they didn't have family to help? Logistical NIGHTMARE. I'm not usually one for lists, but during this job I became one. I had lists of lists of lists.
Are you ready for the funny part? After having gone to all the trouble of arranging guest judges, I was asked to fix the results so that the Mr. and Mrs. Nursing Home we took to the regional pageant were the best combination of appearance and well-spoken, thus having the best chance to win. And no fixing was necessary - the winners would've won anyway, thank goodness.
We wound up taking Jack and Annie. They were so excited - they even got to take multiple trips to Alexandria to be fitted for a tux and formal (at the nursing home's expense, of course), a trip to the salon, and then finally for the event itself. Neither one of them one, but Jack and Annie didn't care. They really were excited just to participate.
I'll tell you what - that whole experience gave me an appreciation for event planners that I didn't have before. The amount of unseen effort that goes into such an event is enormous.