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Nostalgia was on full display at Farmers Park June 9 as The Network for Young Professionals held its second annual Summer Fest. The 2017 edition, presented in conjunction with the City of Springfield, had a 90s theme, complete with throwback décor, themed food and drinks (can you say Pop Rocks punch?) and video flashbacks.
And no party would be complete without the right jams – the 400 in attendance had the chance to bust a move all night to 90s music from The Mixtapes.
The festivities mark the second year that the young professionals group has taken the fun, evening party approach to its annual event – a marked departure from previous years, which featured a weekday luncheon event that group members felt didn’t capture the spirit and enthusiasm for which the group is known.
It was a special opportunity for the City of Springfield, which City Manager Greg Burris said is working to “position itself as the employer of choice in the community.”
“The City of Springfield jumped at the opportunity to sponsor The Network’s Summer Fest event,” Burris said. “We have a special focus on recruiting young professionals. Like many other organizations and businesses, the upcoming wave of Baby Boomer retirements is placing a premium on efforts to position our younger professionals to take more leadership roles in our organization and within the community.”
The event also offered a chance to reach out to non-members of the organization, showing them what the group can offer and turning the event into a must-attend date for all area YPs.
“It’s great to see hundreds of our community’s young professionals come together for an evening designed specifically to celebrate them and their contributions to Springfield,” said Network Coordinator Paige Oxendine. “We know YPs want to live in cities with a dynamic mix of things to do, and we’re happy to have great community partners who work with us to create an opportunity like Summer Fest.”
One company that chose to send several of its employees was Revel Advertising. Shelby Greninger, Revel account executive and media planner, said the event offered a combination of fun and opportunities to connect.
"Our company bought tickets because it was a great networking opportunity and a chance to get more acquainted with our fellow Network and Chamber members," she said. "The event was a blast. I'm not sure if my team was more excited about the 'totcho' bar or the throwback tunes, but we'll definitely be going back next year!"
Burris said the event was a unique opportunity for the city to connect with its staff members outside of the normal working environment.
“As a service organization that drives many aspects of our community, we’re only as good as our people,” he said. “Working with The Network allows us to work with many of the best young professionals in the region. We relish that opportunity.
“Also, the band was great!”