Inman Park is one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods, and it just so happens to be in the metaphorical backyard of our headquarters at Ponce City Market. The neighborhood hosts a spring event every year called the Inman Park Festival, and it’s known for its artist market, tour of homes, and quirky neighborhood parade.
We’ve come a long way since we first participated in 2013 when it was only a handful of folks from our support team lead by our Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer Dan Kurzius. We didn’t want to keep all the fun to ourselves, so over the years we started inviting friends and family to join us when walking in the parade. MailChimp has participated in the parade for 6 years running. And in 2018, we had more than 200 employees, friends, and family help us celebrate the things we love about Inman Park.
If you look closely at the Inman Park butterfly, you’ll see two faces. One symbolizes looking in the past, and the other is looking to the future of the neighborhood. But if Inman Park ever considered a backup mascot, I feel like the squirrel would be a great fit. As it turns out, our friends from The Squirrel Census were curious about how many squirrels roamed around Inman Park, and they figured it out. Now they have their sights on bigger parks. It just goes to show you how great ideas in Atlanta often influence other cultural centers.
When we first walked in the parade in 2013, we really had no idea what we were doing. This was our first parade! We raided our swag closet of shirts, chimp hats, and stickers to hand out. Little did we know that more than 100,000 people attend the Inman Park Festival—a few tote bags of swag wouldn’t stand a chance. We learned our lesson over the years, and our friends and family helped us give out 4,000 slap koozies (!) and 4,000 stickers (!!) to parade attendees this year.
Here’s a question we like to ask new employees during their first week of onboarding: What’s something that excites you about your new job at MailChimp? It’s not uncommon to hear people say one of the reasons they chose to work here is how we make community a priority, and how they’re looking forward to getting more involved. The Inman Park Festival is just one of the many ways we show up. Like Atlanta Pride and the Decatur Book Festival, this parade is an iconic event that means a lot to ATLiens and MailChimp.
But also, it’s just a great time. As one of our employees’ kids told him at the end of a long day: "Dad, this day was the most fun of my whole life. I loved it more than candy."