Monday, July 20, 2009

Courting the sporty

Heads in beds. That is the criteria the CVB uses to judge whether an event is something we want to promote. It's kind of self-serving since we get our funds from the transient guest tax charged to hotel guests.
One area I think we've neglected is all of the sporting events that go on in McPherson. Already I know of at least three large tournaments that have come to McPherson this summer. I suspect there are a great many more out there.
What does the CVB have to do with sports you might wonder. Here's a few of the ways we can help:
· Marketing Grants – If your event is open to the public and brings overnight guests to town, you could qualify for a marketing matching grant from the CVB. The Mid America Classic girls basketball tournament has received funds to help pay for programs in the past. An easy-to-follow fillable grant application is available on our Web site or a paper copy can be picked up at our offices at 306 N. Main St. Please contact me for more information if you are interested.
· Information dissemination – The CVB can let stores and restaurants know if a large group is coming to town to help them better prepare and staff for the event. This advance notice helps McPherson businesses put their best foot forward.
· Welcome bags – The CVB has bags with community information, coupons and giveaways to help welcome teams to town. Information on local attractions, shopping and dining options let visitors take advantage of the recreation opportunities in McPherson.

If you are an organizer of a sport tournament or competition I'd like to hear from you about your event and how the CVB can help. Call me at 620-241-3340.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Ding ding

To say every job comes with its challenges is not an inaccurate statement. Even in my job promoting McPherson, which is the best job I've ever had, I have days where I wonder "What next?"

One of the particular challenges of my job is managing our trolley. You gotta love the trolley. It's green and red and festive. It turns heads going down the street. You feel like you're stepping back in history about 80 years when you get on board. It's more fun than riding a school bus. It goes "ding-ding" when you pull the cord.
The bigger the vehicle, I've discovered, the more problems crop up. Right out of the shoot, my second week on the job, the battery died. That wouldn't have been a big deal but the door to get into the trolley runs off the battery and the keys to open the battery compartment were locked inside. Thankfully Gerry Tillett at the street dept. lent me some help to crawl around underneath the trolley and connect jumper cables the hard way. The street guys have saved my butt on a number of occasions with the trolley.
Then there was the driver's seat saga which began way before I took the job. We had to have it swapped out at least three times so far this year. I couldn't get the manufacturer to believe me the new seat belt did not fit in the old seat belt receptacle until I videotaped it and put it on Youtube for them to see. They finally sent the right part, paid our expenses and we rolled on down the road.
One ongoing challenge I have with the trolley is parking it by the Opera House to load for our tours. The curb along the south side of the Opera House is a bus loading zone. It's marked with two signs but people still park there. We're looking into better signage and marking but please keep in mind the police will ticket you if you park there. We like to pull right up to the curb because some of our riders have a little trouble getting around and we want to make it easier and safer for them.
This last week was a particularly busy week for the trolley. We had four private rentals booked, two public tours and shuttle service Friday night for Shop the Night Away. Our driver tells me more than 200 people rode the trolley Friday night.
Our trolley wouldn't get far without all of its drivers. Jeannie and John Werner, Ralph Barringer, Sam Stuckey and Jerry Fithian take great care of her. We also have a wonderful group of volunteer tour guides -- Virginia Luty, Bev Nye, Verla Thomasen, Phillipa Read, Trevor Wilson, Judy Carson, Veryl Leach and a few others I'm sorry I've forgotten. Even my predescessor Judy Casey fills in in a pinch. All of these drivers and volunteers are coordinated by Pam Jumonville, my ace assistant.
I hope my grousing hasn't turned you off the trolley. It is a wonderful way to see McPherson, a one-of-a-kind way to get to your wedding reception (she's very photogenic) or a fun way to shuttle around town for an event. Call me at 800-324-8022 to book the trolley. We'll have her washed and polished and fueled up for you.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday afternoon blog

I've decided to start blogging on Friday afternoons. My fiance just rolled into town so my urge to scoot out the door is pretty strong today!
We just had a lady from southwest Kansas stop in to pay for a trolley rental for her son's wedding this weekend. She commented on how wonderful our downtown is. Many of the Main Streets in her neck of the woods are dying out and she liked how our downtown is bustling with activity.
It's always interesting for me to hear an outsider's take on McPherson.
We're, well mostly Ann Engel, Main Street director, prepping for tonight's downtown sidewalk sales. The theme for Shop the Night Away this year is Shop, Rattle and Roll! The plaza area will host food vendors, music and later tonight a free screening of American Graffiti. The Mac Cruisers car club will display restored automobiles.
Hopefully many people will come to town and shop at our downtown stores.
I love occassions like this where so many people work together to make something happen. I think that's why you see so much right in McPherson -- there's a spirit of cooperation and generosity in the community. We really can accomplish more together. That's not to say folks don't have their disagreements, but in the end we all want the same thing -- a vibrant and thriving community.
Have a great weekend!