Monday, May 8, 2017

Discover LA Rolls Out #EveryoneIsWelcome Mat On Eve of LA2024 IOC Evaluation Commission Visit

This week the good folks at LA2024 will host the IOC Evaluation Commission official visit to check out the Olympic bid city.

Upon receipt of "blogger Nick" media credentials for the festivities a few weeks ago, I booked passage to LAX for a week blending work and fun, family time (relatives in Thousand Oaks) and visits with a few longtime friends.

As a far away LA2024 registered volunteer, I was also mindful of potential options to donate hours while in town, and a fun opportunity -- via LA2024 partner Discover Los Angeles (the City of Angels' tourism authority) -- proved to provide a fun kind of card game at a park just north of the airport.

On Saturday morning it was fun to join hundreds of local Angelinos as stood in assigned spots on a field and followed instructions from an Israeli-American filmmaker engaged to create several "Everyone Is Welcome" human signs that greeting inbound flights to LAX.

On site, volunteers received a designated spot on a grid, a giant two-sided card (about five-feet square), sunscreen, shades and a loaner headset that at first seemed like a noise-cancelling device but proved to be the transmitter for our special instructions and cues to hold aloft our cards.

It was not easy to snap photos with hands full of card!

From the ground you could almost make out the faces of passengers on the jets overhead. No idea whether they could see our waving, but we were told a handful of planes included camera crews set to capture moving images. Two boom cameras and a small army of on-the-ground film crews also moved above and about our volunteer group.

For the morning shift, I was in spot Brown-157, about 10 spots from one side and three rows down from the top edge (the first "e" in the English sign "WELCOME" and also a part of the first "e" in the Spanish sign "BIENVENIDOS" (I hope that's not me who is the crooked part of the "e" in the Spanish image from the event.

After lunch I was more in the middle for a sign greeting Air China flights before we flipped for a two Middle Eastern jumbo jets on the approach to the airport's north runways.

It was fun making new friends including an aspiring actor, a preschool teacher, a special events coordinator for several top Hollywood awards events, and a woman who drove down from Oakland to volunteer (she would have had the record for longest distance traveled if this Atlanta-based blogger had not arrived). At least one LA television station filed a report from the stunt.

Also enjoyed brief visits with a few new friends from LA2024 including their media relations executive, volunteer coordinator and Anita DeFrantz of IOC, USOC, LA2024 and many other key organizations.

Check out the images and local Los Angeles TV coverage of Discover LA's work and recently-unveiled #EveryoneIsWelcome campaign.

Photos by Nicholas Wolaver and/or Discover Los Angeles

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