Few show up to ‘tour own town’


Saturday’s gloomy skies, wind and occasional rain, plus other factors, may have led to smaller crowds
this weekend during the annual "Be a tourist in your own town" promotion.
For the first time the event was held over two days. It encouraged local and area residents, as well as
those attending Family Weekend at Bowling Green State University, to visit downtown Bowling Green,
special sites near the city, plus five venues at the university itself.
Tom Berry, archivist at the Historical Construction Equipment Museum on Liberty Hi Road, said only one
visitor showed up on Saturday, and one family of three on Sunday. The site offered free admission both
afternoons it was open. (Photo: Volunteer Briana Blair works on making a mask while waiting for
"tourist" to show. 10/24/09 (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune))
"There’s several possibilities," Berry said of the small attendance. "One of the
volunteers said it was a home football game," on Saturday at BGSU, and that day’s weather
"probably didn’t help." He added the museum also had its international convention five weeks
ago which possibly reduced crowds this weekend. People who wanted to see the museum may have attended
during the convention.
"The first two times we did pretty well," Berry said of the "tourist" promotion.
"I just think the timing of it" affected attendance.
Craig Blair, director of Arts in Common Gallery, at the former South Main School building, was
disappointed families did not make use of the Halloween mask-making workshop it held on Saturday. For
$15 children or adults could create a custom-made mask with strips of rigid wrap and decorate it with a
variety of items, such as paint and feathers.
"I wanted to do something for Halloween and take advantage of the holiday and draw people to the
event," he said.
But Kelli Kling, marketing coordinator at the Wood County Historical Center and Museum, was delighted
with Sunday’s attendance. For the "Be a tourist" event the museum offered half off the regular
admission of $4 and stayed open an extra hour, till 5 p.m.
She noted an average Sunday attendance can range from two to 12 people, but this time she had 25 guests
walk through the museum.
Kling said among the visitors were a lot of parents with their BGSU student, whom they’d introduce, and
then announce they were there for the Family Weekend.
"I will say events like this do tend to bring up the number of attendees. In past years it’s a
smaller increase over the typical weekend. This weekend was more of an increase. We saw 25 today and
didn’t expect that many."
Also pleased with attendance was Jeff Simonetta, a junior at BGSU in digital arts, who was overseeing the
Poetic Dialogue exhibit in the Fine Arts Center on Saturday afternoon. Compared to other times he is
there to oversee it Saturday’s attendance was good – in spite of evacuating the building briefly because
of smoke detectors going off in the area of the metal forge.
"There’s always at least one or two groups going through," he said. "Every 10 minutes a
group comes in."

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