Chocolate Powered Howard
More than any of the presidential campaigns, the Dean campaign encouraged supporters to act on their own initiative. In Richmond, NH (Cheshire County) several Dean supporters organized a "Chocolate Powered Howard" event at Veteran's Hall on October 19, 2003. In addition to entries such as "Double Fudge Brownies, with perfectly chocolate-chocolate frosting" this community event featured a Dean campaign video and position papers.
|Photos By Michael Hoefer|
|Text by Michael Hoefer with input from Jean Tandy and
editing by E.M. Appleman
The idea for Chocolate Powered Howard (CPH) was hatched while a group of local Dean activists got together to figure out how to canvass and motivate our small town of approximately 900. We thought that having a fun event to invite people to would be better than knocking on doors in our somewhat private rural town. We borrowed the name from the campaign which has been using "People Powered Howard".
About five of us met a couple of times to organize and plan who would bring what, rough ideas for rules, etc. A couple of people worked on the task of PR and advertising and got some things published for free or low cost in the local papers/newsletters. We also posted it on the Dean site.
As the day arrived it was a leap of faith that anything would really happen. We did not do the phone call canvassing that we originally thought we would, so we were not sure how many attendees to expect. We all cooked something in case nobody else showed up with chocolate "entries." With the lack of time to really have a detailed plan, we organizers just trusted one another that what we said we were going to do would be done.
Dixie Gurian brought paper goods and cider (and the band), Jean Tandy the signage and decorations, and I brought the AV gear so we could show a video of Howard Dean.
It all came together beautifully. The hall rental was just $25 and gave us a great space to set up. A local band "The Everyday Blues Band" played for free. Red, white, and blue helium balloons added a festive touch. Friends, families, and even a few real "customers," about 50 people total, came to share part of their afternoon with us. Lots of delicious chocolate creations were shared, and judged in several categories, Most Decadent, Most Sculptural, Most Unexpected, etc.
The political purpose of the event was not neglected. In addition to the video, Dean position papers were laid out in piles on long multi-use tables placed to the right of people entering the hall. An easel and magic marker board with pens were available for comments and reactions.
The campaign signed up and "ID'd" a few more supporters and the main route through town now sports many more DEAN lawn signs. We all felt good about pulling of a community event; it's always powerful when you get committed folks working towards a common goal.
Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.