Tourism advocates plan Six Weeks of Fun in Eureka Springs
A broad consortium of tourism businesses and advocates have been working together to identify assets, shape a plan that encompasses all that Eureka Springs has to offer and facilitate a community-wide marketing strategy over multiple channels to launch the effort when Eureka Springs can offer it. The idea is around “Wide Open Spaces” and utilizing what Eureka Springs organically has as offerings and filling in around those with new, interesting pieces that will remind our customers why they love Eureka Springs.
The group started with a small brainstorming document and then opened that up to the whole community in a Zoom meeting facilitated by Richard Davies and Kyle Kellams. That group funneled down to a smaller focus group that is working through all of the great ideas the community had and is highlighting the ones that seem possible, fundable through outside sources and executable with partners throughout the community.
“It feels good to work towards a plan. We may not have an exact date that we can execute the six weeks of programming that is being developed, but working positively with partners across sectors feels like the right move,” said group facilitator, Jayme Brandt of Tee Rex. “We want to be ready when we can open up wider and we want to remember all of the possibilities from the Great Passion Play, the opening of Marble Flats trails, Lake Leatherwood and smaller programming throughout the town. With a plan we will be ready and it’s empowering to be putting that in place.”
“We’ve already begun the process of writing grants for some of the components that include longer term needs like sanitation stations and signage. As we know, all of the funding is going fast and being able to have something that we can quickly formulate into a grant request has allowed us to get ours in on time,” said Jacqueline Wolven, executive director of Main Street Eureka Springs.
The steps the Wide Open Work Group are taking are: forming a steering committee including Jayme Brandt of Tee Rex; Debbie Davis of Shoppes at Fleece and Flax; Gina Rambo, interim director of the CAPC; Jack Moyer of the Crescent and Basin Hotels; Rick Rojek of Heartstone Inn; Kent Butler of The Great Passion Play and Dirt Church Trails; Tracy Johnson, contracted event coordinator for the city; and Jacqueline Wolven of Main Street Eureka Springs. A community brainstorming meeting was held April 21 over Zoom with 85 participants, the first Focus group was held on April 28 and the group will meet again on May 5th. A plan will then be developed, outside funding sources will be identified and programming partners will begin being established.
“The last month, financially, has been devastating for our community and creating new opportunities to rebuild what we have lost feels right. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know we can work together to build Eureka Springs back up,” Brandt said.
When the plan is finalized another community Zoom meeting will be announced and the process will move forward.