Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 49
Printed in the Warrensburg Gazette June 29, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

Did you know that cows, pigs, and rabbits are now tourism gimmicks? Yep, Chicago, New York, Cincinnati, and Rapid City civic leaders are going to the bank with big tourism dollars with their plastic critter attractions. Is it possible for Warrensburg civic leaders to have such a marketing hook? Ask yourself what draws "outsiders" to our community. Of course, we have visitors coming to visit relatives, business travelers, and those who get off the beaten path of travel to eat, sleep, and hopefully not leave in a hurry.

Civic leaders who went out on a limb to invest in cows, pigs, and rabbits are getting the last laugh, as well as tourism dollars. Picture a plastic molded Old Drum replica statue in front of the old county courthouse on Main Street - a dog with a paw lifted to greet tourists in front of the Chamber-Amtrak headquarters - a dog painted with spots for the firestation - a dog painted as a maitre d'hotel in front of a restaurant - a sleeping dog painted as a faithful pal waiting for his buddy to come out of the Community Center or the Trails Library - a dog at play in Blind Boone Park.

According to a CBS SUNDAY MORNING feature, the plastic molded cows of Chicago and New York City have brought in millions of tourism dollars. Cincinnati has flying pigs. Rapid City is Rabbit City. Missouri is left out, but Warrensburg can get on the same band wagon. We have a dog; a movie has been made of the dog, the dog has a speech in his honor, a statue has been built, there's a monument, and the dog's story is sent out on Internet and attached to hundreds of Chamber inquiries about what makes Warrensburg special to visit. All that's needed is to contact a plastic mold company, design three or so postures of the dog, have several businesses and civic groups sponsor the statues, and then place them strategically in the city to catch the eyes of the tourists. Now, imagine a picture of Old Drum on the front cover of the Missouri Division of Tourism's "Travel Guide" going to millions of tourists.

Would such a tourism investment in this community be outlandish? Possibly, but tourism gurus keep telling of the success of the world's largest ball of twine, a must stop for many tourists in Kansas. Better get a head start, though, before the city of Marshall beats us to the punch with Jim the Wonder Dog!

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