Friday, July 08, 2005

Oh Joy!

The Gold Wingers are coming back (as long as we give them the best spots to watch the fireworks again), according to this morning's JG, but the $7-8 million economic boost we were promised probably didn't happen; that figure was based on the 14,000 riders who came in 2002. This year only 10,250 showed up.

What, you ask, was the magic formula that made them so happy that they can't wait to come back?

[Gold Wing founder Paul Hildenbrand] said the success was derived from three important things: hospitality, a number of good ice cream shops and more hospitality.

Quick, someone write that down! Forget renovating the Grand Wayne Center -- let's build more ice cream shops! (New CVB brochures: Fort Wayne -- the City of Churches and Ice Cream Shops)

Hildenbrand mentions that the real reason they like coming here is that every other city hates them.

“Sometimes people just don’t know what to do with us,” he said. “But this town is great. It’s the only town we’ve ever been to that truly seems to be nice to us, not because we’re going to come and spend a lot of money.”

Uh, no, it's about the money. So eat as much ice cream as you can, guys.

UPDATE: A N-S reader weighs in on media's response to the Gold Wing Convention:

Hold your griping, Fort Wayne

I’m counting the hours until the first complaints begin to roll in to local media. No doubt the topic will occupy unwarranted time on local afternoon talk radio. My experience tells me that Fort Wayne’s response to the new location will be predominantly negative, and I’m really hoping to be proven wrong on this one.

As a city recently voted the dumbest and fattest in America, I think we should avoid being voted the most ungrateful or inclined to complain. The complaints will necessarily revolve around the Honda Gold Wing convention, parking at the coliseum and traffic.

Let’s thank the Gold Wingers for their contribution to the Fort Wayne economy. Let’s also remember that there are a thousand other cities that would welcome the opportunity to host them. Let’s thank the Fort Wayne police for doing a great job with traffic control. I got home much quicker than years past. Finally, let’s remember to thank Centennial Wireless, which spent $40,000 of its hard-earned profits providing a free gift to Fort Wayne residents and those who travel from as far away as Ohio to celebrate our nation’s birthday. It’s more than was ever spent in the past.

This city has much to be grateful for, but in typical fashion, our gratitude will be diminished by our whining.

Prove me wrong, Fort Wayne.

Jason Blosser

According Hildenbrand's comments , it doesn't sound like there are a thousand other cities that would welcome the opportunity to host the Gold Wingers -- I'm just sayin'!

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