Look out world.
It's unclear how one person is going to be able to "manage" all of the tourism that the county deals with each year, what with General Jubal Early's boyhood home and its more famous neighbor - the infamous junkyard - drawin' 'em in like they do.
But today's Roanoke Times gives us a hint as to the county's strategy:
Franklin Co. hires 1st tourism managerBassTober. I'm reserving a room today.
Franklin County has hired a new employee to tout its growing list of tourist-attracting festivals and sporting events.
Debra Weir, 44, started Monday as the county's first tourism manager.
One of her first jobs will be lining up sponsors for October's Bassmasters tournament on Smith Mountain Lake.
Weir said the county will hold a number of events that month leading up to the main tournament, which will take place from Oct. 25 to 29. The county will promote that series of events as "BassTober," she said. (link)
Regular readers of this weblog have noted that I'm highly skeptical of our gullible civic leaders' dreams that tourism is the elixir that's going to solve the problems we have here in Southwest Virginia - minor issues, really, relating to economic stagnation, rising unemployment, a mass exodus of major employers, and a troubling depopulation. Oh, and an economic crisis - I almost forgot.
I'm also of the opinion that the many politicians around here who tout tourism as being any kind of cure for those problems are either stupid or deceitful or both. And you know who you are ...
And I'm reluctant to pee in Debra Weir's cornflakes since she is just starting her job. But ...
I've seen Bassmasters tournaments on TV (for nanoseconds at a time, while flipping through channels trying to find something more entertaining, like ... well, anything really). You have generally two guys (and occasionally a large-breasted babe in a form-fitting one-piece coverall) in a boat parked out in the middle of a lake.
Picture the scene. You're a tourist who has blundered upon Smith Mountain Lake on your way to Dollywood. You stand on shore and see these tiny dots on the horizon that may be boats. Or logs. Or empty whisky bottles bobbing on the surface.
Is that something you're going to stick around to watch?
Are you going to forego your trip to Palm Beach to come to Franklin County, Virginia to partake? Color me just a wee bit pessimistic.
And if the intent is to attract those professional fishermen with their fancy boats and color-coordinated RV's, are you going to classify them as tourists? Aren't they the paid entertainment? Just asking.
And what am I missing? The fishermen will be living in their RV's. They'll be eating dinner on the boat or in the RV. They'll probably bring in their own cases of Bud. Is there some revenue generator here I'm overlooking?
No matter how you slice it, 75 well-dressed bass fishermen (and fisherwoman) ain't going to bring full employment to Frankin County.
But I read further and got some insight into other possibilities:
In addition to the Bassmasters tournament, Weir will be working with the Pigg River Ramble and a host of events related to county sites that have been designated as part of the Crooked Road traditional music trail.A Pigg River Ramble ... God have mercy.
And that damn trail ...
Wow is the only word that comes to mind.
Happy days are here again.