Event City Minute: Great events, programs help tourism thrive in Oshkosh

5:48 PM, May 8, 2013  |  Comments
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National Tourism Week couldn't have come at a better time this year.

Since 1984, the first full week in May has been recognized as a time to champion the power of travelers and the economic effect they have on great destinations like Oshkosh. Today, we have so much to be proud of as a city, county and state.

In Wisconsin, tourism had a $16.8 billion impact on our economy in 2012. Tourism dollars supported more than 183,000 full-time jobs (1 out of every 13 jobs in the state). It's a huge industry and one of only a few that keeps growing.

On a local level, tourism follows the statewide trends. Winnebago County is once again one of the top beneficiaries of tourism expenditures in the entire state. Despite some challenges, namely a historically low number of available hotel rooms in 2012, we once again experienced growth.

This growth is primarily because Oshkosh understands tourism, appreciates its benefits to our community and is willing to invest in events, attractions and amenities.

Click here for this week's Event City Minute video.

On Friday, May 10, the Oshkosh Convention & Visitors Bureau will announce the economic impact of tourism on Winnebago County for 2012. Our annual tourism breakfast will be held inside the ballroom at the just-opened Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel.

That's what makes National Tourism Week so exciting this year. Not only do we have the pleasure of announcing a really large economic impact number, but we will be a living example of the progress tourism can have on a community.

In the shadow of the recently renovated Oshkosh Convention Center, inside the remodeled downtown hotel, and across the street from our new offices in the 100 N. Main building, we will honor tourism partners, celebrate our success and look forward to another busy tourism season in Wisconsin's Event City.

We hope you'll join us in this celebration by attending the tourism breakfast or our office open house immediately following the announcement (and running throughout the day).

Tourism is thriving in Wisconsin, Winnebago County and here in Oshkosh. The No. 1 factor in what attracts travelers is fun. And we've got plenty of fun planned in the week ahead.

Tonight, check out the Magical Evening Style Show at the Oshkosh Convention Center, presented by Cerebral Palsy of Mideast Wisconsin. Shopping begins at 3:30 p.m. with diner and a style show at 5:30 p.m. For details, visit www.cpmideastwis.com.

Wordsmiths and "newsies" will want to head to the Oshkosh Public Library for a discussion lead by CNN's John DeDakis as part of the Lakefly Literacy Conference. At 7 p.m. DeDakis, a Wisconsin native and senior coy editor on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, will talk about his 40-year career in journalism. Admission is free.

The LakeFly Literacy Conference is also bringing a great show to the Grand Opera House, 100 High Ave., on Friday night. Michael Perry and the Long Beds will perform at 7:30 p.m. Perry, a bestselling author and humorist, will entertain with his unique "folk-twang" music. General admission tickets are $25 each. For complete information on the conference, visit www.LakeFlyLit.org.

Start the weekend off with a little exercise in honor of Mom on Friday. CLIC Foursquare Church is hosting the inaugural Moving on Mission (MOM) 5K run/walk on Friday at Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne. A kids race (ages 8 and younger) starts at 5 p.m. with the 5K at 6:30 p.m. Registration is $35 for adults.

Saturday brings plenty of options including an air tour of Oshkosh, the opening of an amazing art exhibit, and the ultimate ladies day downtown.

Take to the skies above Oshkosh in the EAA's 1929 Ford Tri-Motor this weekend as Pioneer Airport is offering flight opportunities from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday (and again on May 18 and 19). Tickets are $75 for adults and $50 for children age 17 and younger. Check out www.airventuremuseum.org/fordtri- motor for more information.

Art lovers will want spend some time at the Paine Art Center and Gardens on Saturday for the opening of their new exhibition "Chihuly Venetians." Dale Chihuly is widely regarded as the most innovative glass artist working today. "Chihuly Venetians" is on display starting Saturday and running through Oct. 13.

Saturday is also the annual Destination Downtown event featuring a style show, shopping and a wine and cheese social. Registration starts at 10:30 a.m. inside the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel in downtown with lunch and the style show beginning at 11 a.m. Cost is $25 per person. After the style show, head into downtown where you'll find great discounts and specials at our local retailers. The afternoon wraps up in the seventh floor clubhouse of the 100 N. Main St. for a wine and cheese social and the grand prize drawing. For more information, visit www.DowntownOshkosh. com.

And don't forget Sunday is Mother's Day; consider celebrating at one of our many area restaurants who are hosting a special Mother's Day brunch, including the Oshkosh Convention Center. They'll be rolling out the red carpet to showcase the culinary offerings that will help complement the convention business in downtown.

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Football fans

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Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports