Chandler’s HDE Agency packed ‘em in last year SanTan Sun News

Chandler’s HDE Agency packed ‘em in last year

Chandler’s HDE Agency packed ‘em in last year
Business
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By Kevin Reagan

Staff Writer

 

The company responsible for organizing big outdoor eating and drinking fests in Chandler and elsewhere says it experienced a record-breaking season last year, attracting more than 143,000 attendees.

The HDE Agency, based in Chandler, has built a reputation in the East Valley for generating events that are unique to their respective communities.

The Great Cajun Southwest Festival, San Tan Oktoberfest and the Rockin’ Taco Street Festival are some of the popular HDE events that attract thousands of attendees. 

Landon Evans, the agency’s owner, said his company’s goal is to create sustainable, long-term events that bring an economic benefit to the local community.  

“We’re extremely proud of what we do,” Evans said. “We’ve been very consistent over the last decade in driving foot traffic into these districts.”

The key ingredients to creating a successful event are engagement and longevity, Evans said. They want guests to make memories they can someday share with their children. 

A decade ago, the agency was only producing one or two events annually.

 Now it’s grown to produce a roster of 20 events per year—becoming one of the busiest event-planning agencies in the state. 

The vibe of these events appears similar on the surface — corral a bunch of food vendors in one place for hoards of hungry patrons — but HDE tries to have their events fit the flavors and tastes of each community.  

Evans moved to Arizona several years ago and noticed local eateries and businesses needed help getting their message out to the public. 

“I realized that a lot of these restaurants don’t have the brand awareness that they need,” he said. “They need more butts in seats so-to-speak.”

His first client was San Tan Brewing Company and his first assignment was organizing an event in downtown Chandler. 

At that time, this area of the city was not as vibrant as it is today, Evans said. But as the development came, so did the need for more events and a partnership was formed with HDE.  

“The growth over the years in Chandler has been viable to the success of our events as well,” Evans said. 

Then other cities sought similar activities and HDE found itself producing several large-scale events throughout the year. 

The company’s approach is methodical: develop themes and gimmicks that will attract the right demographics.

Evans said his agency creates events that are meant to have continuity and will find a permanent place in a community. 

“I don’t create events just to be a one-time thing for a one-time cause,” Evans said. “I build these events to build culture within these districts.”

HDE tracks its economic impact through marketing analytics and guest surveys that estimate how much money attendees might spend at nearby businesses. 

Algorithms can project each guest spending $120, on average, for services surrounding the event, which can generate a large economic footprint for an event attracting hundreds of people. 

So where does the agency want to go from here? 

Evans said he aims to keep growing HDE’s reputation and hopes Arizona will eventually become known as a destination that produces memorable events. 

“I don’t want these events to ever go away,” he said, “I want them to continue becoming what they’re evolving to right now.” 

HDE will hold its eighth annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest Sept. 14 at A.J. Chandler Park with more than a dozen local restaurants and food trucks. 

People also will be able to enjoy wrestling, car shows, live music, fresh fruit frescas, mariachis, beer Micheladas, margaritas and eating competitions. 

Tickets that are half off the day-of-the-event price are available at all Food City and Bashas’ locations through Sept. 14. Kids 12 and under are free.

“The Rockin’ Taco Street Fest is one of our most popular signature events that we produce,” said Evans. “We look to reach 15,000 at this year’s celebration.”

Guests will experience mariachi performers walking and playing throughout the day. There will also be a dedicated Kid Zone, a piñata party, car show and Lucha Libre VOS wrestling.

This year’s festival supports Junior Achievement of Arizona with a portion of the proceeds going to the organization, which teaches young people about running a business. 

Information: rockintacoaz.com.

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