Posted: August 1, 2008
For the past two weeks, I have spent much of my free time distributing promotional material for Festival in the Pines, which is my other business venture. The annual arts and crafts event, which features great food, games and inflatable rides for the kids, as well as other family entertainment, takes place August 23-24 in Carson Park in Eau Claire. (This is what is commonly called a shameless plug).
As I drove through all parts of Chippewa and Eau Claire Counties last weekend, I noticed how much traffic there was at most of the area motels. Of course, two weekends ago, the region hosted two large music festivals. But this past weekend was equally busy as the lodging properties catered to wedding receptions, reunions and youth sporting events. In fact, I would bet that three-quarters of the motel parking lots were near capacity prior to last Sunday's 11am check-out time.
Although nobody in their right mind would claim that we are not experiencing an economic recession, I was pleasantly surprised that our tourism trade is alive and well. Many of the out-of-town guests that I spoke with told me that they wondered if the Chippewa Valley economy was suffering at all because of all the weekend activity. As I always say, "You can fool most of the people most of the time."
NASCAR ON THE RADIO: One of the best sports broadcasts on radio is produced by Motorsports Racing Network (MRN). The auto racing coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup events has been a staple on my radio dial for the past few years. However, Maverick Media Vice President and Market Manager George Roberts told me that the radio station group elected to discontinue its relationship with MRN because the company could not justify the cost to carry the broadcast. He said the demand in listenership and advertisers did not warrant the escalating fees. Surprisingly, only a handful of listeners inquired about Maverick Media's decision to drop its MRN coverage. But I would bet if a few local businesses offered to help underwrite the award-winning auto racing coverage, Maverick may reconsider its decision next year.
RANDOM THOUGHT: I am amazed that there are not more accidents occurring on the Highway 53 Freeway. I travel the highway multiple times each day. I get frustrated that some drivers are driving 55 miles per hour while others cruise along in excess of 65 miles per hour. Personally, I think the local motorists are not used to driving more than 55 miles per hour along a roadway that is so close to the Eau Claire city limits. I usually lambaste out-of-town drivers, but in this instance, the locals are the ones who will most likely cause a crash.