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Great people, great city: the Stitch Chicago Fall Festival

In late October the Stitch Community officially launched in Chicago with the inaugural “Stitch Chicago Fall Festival”, supported by SilverSneakers. I was lucky enough to attend, and was privileged to meet some incredible members. Read on to find out what the week was all about.

The Stitch Chicago Fall Festival was a week-long series of events and activities happening all over Chicago, from 26th October to the 2nd November.

What a great week it was!

It coincided not only with Fall (and some beautiful falling leaves) but also Halloween, which meant there was lots of fun for everyone.

Having fun with a great crowd

The Stitch Community in Chicago is proudly supported by our partner SilverSneakers, which played a fantastic role in not only raising awareness about the community and getting new members to join, but also organizing a large number of events and activities across the city.

Added to those activities were a number of member-created events and activities across the city, plus the main Community launch event on the Saturday evening.

It all added up to dozens of opportunities to meet a whole host of wonderful Stitch members, many of whom braved some unseasonably bad weather to be able to come along.

Activities included a Haunted Halloween Cruise, Happy Hours, a Chicago Riverwalk outing, dinners, comedy show get-togethers, zoo walks, leaf-peeping, coffee catch-ups, presentations, and the Community Launch Party.

The thing that stood out most of all, however, was the laughter. Starting with the hilarity of the Haunted Halloween Cruise, it continued at pretty much every event I attended, and was a great reminder that laughing together with friends is one of life’s great pleasures.

The week was one of the most fun times I’ve had as a member of Stitch, and this was overwhelmingly due to the great Stitch members I met.

Check out just some of the pictures from the week for an idea of how much fun we had:

Bringing the community to new areas

A big focus for the Chicago community launch — and for all Stitch communities around the world, for that matter — was how to activate and grow the community in new areas.

Chicago is a massive city, after all, so we were only able to cover a tiny fraction of the city with the activities that were held during the Festival.

One of Stitch’s new initiatives is to partner with existing local community and non-profit groups to help bring the community to new areas, and to find volunteers who would like to help grow the community in their areas.

Our first such collaboration in Chicago is with Mathers – More than a Cafe, which is a community-first organization providing a whole range of community activities through its cafes in a number of locations across Chicago.

I hosted a presentations at Mathers locations to help educate everyone about the goals of the community and inspire volunteers to start getting involved.

The response was fantastic, and with Mathers’ support the community will be hosting regular coffee meetups as a way to build community right across the city.

(If you live outside Chicago and know community organizations which may be a good fit for doing something similar with Stitch, please let us know!)

One particular highlight for me was when Kim, one of our local Chicago Community Champions, turned up wearing a Stitch t-shirt she made herself. Kim spoke to and inspired a roomful of Mathers cafe members with her passion for Stitch. Check out the pictures below!

Thank you to everyone who not only attended but also hosted events during the Fall Festival. You helped make the week a great success, and gave us plenty of ideas about how we can continue to not only grow Stitch in Chicago, but also build the community in cities right across the world.

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