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Author Topic: Giant plastic fish: tourist magnet?  (Read 3140 times)
Newt
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« on: July 24, 2008, 09:09:02 AM »

http://www.dunnvilleonline.ca/thebigmudcat/chronicle.htm

Oh man - has your town ever embarrassed you?  A fifty-foot plastic fish???  Whoich will end up costing about $100K all told?  This article is from two years ago, but they have now selected a site for this incredible tourist magnet: a park on the edge of town.  Just think: in a couple of years, I can direct people to my home saying, "...then turn left at the big plastic fish..."

The town is divided: half of us are in mudcat denial (the town has long been associated with the fish - ugh) and the other half seem to think this will be a source of economic salvation... 

How many of you would or have travelled to see the giant goose in Wawa ON?  The giant buffalo in Jamestown ND?  The Big Nickel in Sudbury ON?  The giant Holstein cow in WI?  The Paul Bunyon statue (wherever it is)?
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2008, 12:25:14 PM »

I always stop at these things if I'm in the neighorhood.  I wouldn't make them a destination or anything, but they are good fun if you stumble on them. 
-Ed
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AndyC
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2008, 03:43:11 PM »

Yeah, if I'm travelling in the area, I'll make a side trip to look at something like that. Been to the giant goose at Wawa a couple of times, the big nickel at Sudbury, the big thermometer at White River, giant Muskoka chairs at both Gravenhurst and South River, the giant muskie in Kenora, and even a couple of roadside flying saucers.

Actually, with a four-lane superhighway under construction, all of the towns in my area are thinking about what is going to happen when the tourists who used to drive through will be going around, and just how to entice some of them to take the exit and look around.

That's what a giant fish (or whatever) is all about. Nobody is going to make a special trip to see it (some would, but not that many). However, if they're passing through, they might plan a stop, especially if they have kids. It's just enough to entice people to go that little bit out of their way.

Funny that you should post this. I just wrote a column that went out in today's paper on this very subject, although intended as humour.

http://www.almaguinregion.com/almaguin/article/112157
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 03:44:46 PM by AndyC » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2008, 05:12:47 PM »

In Paris TN  a few miles from here, there is a scale Efile Tower about a 100 feet tall or so and a giant Fiberglass catfish about 30 feet long, because Paris claims to be the catfish fry capital of the universe and well it's Paris and has to have a Efile Tower!!!! Ok what ever ...



I've seen them both just because I drove by them, I wouldn't plan a trip around it ... if the town wants economic salvation they'd been better off investing that 100K in oil futures. Because I haven't seen a huge tourist industry spring up around Paris.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 09:27:46 PM by CheezeFlixz » Logged

AndyC
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2008, 09:06:19 PM »

What I don't get is why Dunnville is doing a giant roadside attraction. I've got some relatives down around Caledonia and Cayuga, so I've seen the area. Yeah, the Grand River is right there, and the Mudcat Festival is the town's big event, but I just don't see a big fish doing any good in that area.

You look at any of the attractions I listed, they're all on the Trans-Canada or Highway 11. Those are big tourist routes. People driving across the country, or just driving to the cottage or a campground, will use those highways. There aren't a lot of choices in the north. So on a long weekend in the summer, that's a lot of vehicles, thousands of them passing through little towns every day. You've got families on vacation, on the road for hours on end, and quite a few businesses count on a fraction of them stopping for whatever they need. That's where there is an advantage in making your town look like an interesting place to stop and stretch. Giant attractions don't so much draw people as entice them to stop. You need people passing through.

Even so, I think most of these things are relics of the 60s, before highway bypasses, fast-food drive-thrus and DVD players to keep the kids quiet. People will still pull over to have their picture taken in a giant Muskoka chair. I saw some people doing that today, in fact. But these things don't have the same power they had when people actually drove through the towns, when the non-air-conditioned cars were hot and stuffy, the big V8 motor needed frequent drinks, and the kids were all bored and restless.

In any case, I just don't see something like this working in Dunnville. Has anybody done a study? Some traffic counts maybe? A survey? If they have the numbers, fine, but it just doesn't seem like a good fit. I would think anybody driving through Dunnville is most likely going there or someplace close by anyway.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 09:11:30 PM by AndyC » Logged

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Newt
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2008, 09:31:06 PM »

AndyC, I would tend to agree.  I cannot see a giant mudcat attracting traffic away from the northern route to Niagara Falls and the vinyard tours etc.  (Goodness knows the Mudcat Festival does not.)  Apparently a survey or study of sorts was done: the main out-of-town traffic passing through is Americans going from Buffalo to Michigan.

(I am familiar with your area too: hubby's family has camped and cottaged around there for forty years.  Lakes Cecebe, Ahmic, Meighic and Horn, Magnetawan and Burk's - been there frequently.)

It could be worse: one of the main employers in town is a Bick's Pickle plant.  (Menard cannot post, right?) - it could have been a giant gherkin.
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2008, 09:42:00 PM »

The family road trip is a dying tradition, when I was a kid we went to Niagara Falls and we might have stopped to see a giant plastic fish, but it would be unlikely ... those oddball road side attractions are disappearing across the landscape.

Gone are the Mountain Zoo's, the small amusement parks, the theme campground/villages, gone are the days of license plate bingo, sitting in the backwards set of a Country Square station wagon looking out the back window pretending the divider lines on the road were laser blast from a spaceship ... or was that just me?
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2008, 07:44:41 AM »

Yep, people today don't want getting there to be half the fun. They just want to get there.
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2008, 12:29:02 AM »

We've got this big classy statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest right off I65 as you're entering Nashville. I would imagine it's the main reason most families visit Nashville, right?

 

"He's crying, "Follow me!" " said artist Jack Kershaw. The statue stands between 13 battle flags and 13 Confederate flags. The horse and rider stand 25 feet high ( twice life-size ) with the horse in gold leaf and Forrest in silver leaf.

Funny, I always thought he was saying "AAAAAAIIIIIIIGH! BRTBRTBRTBRT!!!"

Cuz's Antique store in nearby Lebanon, TN has bigfoot's stuffed head in their window, but it's starting to look a bit moth-eaten and is certainly not a five-star attraction like big ol' crazy Nathan.



Our only tourist attraction in the very rural area where I live is a picture of a mule (helpfully labled) painted on the side of a bluff. I pass it several times a week, and it is quite amazing.



Read the complete unvarnished history of the mule!
http://www.tngenweb.org/dekalb/mule.htm
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 12:35:38 AM by Raffine » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2008, 08:41:37 AM »

Ah you think that's sometime ... check out this fine tourist attraction in my nearby town of Mayfield KY ...

You will be stunned! This guy dead over 100 years ago and had likenesses of his family made to surround him in death. People from all over come to see it, some of them as far as 5 miles away.



More info on that here ...
http://www.cityofmayfield.org/cemetery/tour.html

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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2008, 10:31:07 AM »

I live in the Niagara area, and I think it's been at least eight years since I've gone to the Falls.  And the American side of the Falls are grotesque, everything's very run-down and unclean-looking, punctuated by casinos run by the remnants of local Iroquois tribes.  The Canadian side is gorgeous with real attractions like the Toronto Butterfly Conservatory. 

One of these days I'm going to get out to the Falls and search for the big statue of Nikola Tesla that's supposed to be around there (Tesla engineered the first hydroelectric dam at Niagara Falls).  That'd be cool. 
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2008, 11:34:41 AM »

Where I grew up, our tourist attraction wasn't so much an object as a culture. It was smack dab in the middle of Ontario Mennonite country. From that draw, some local entrepreneurs managed to gradually turn one of the local villages, St. Jacobs, into a massive conglomeration of tourist traps that has gotten less authentic by the year. A lot of locals tend to avoid it unless they have business there.

One physical feature that draws tourists is the bridge in West Montrose, another little village in the area, built on the same river that passes through Newt's neck of the woods, in fact. West Montrose is noted for having the last remaining historic covered bridge in Ontario.

This was actually a location used for Trapped in Paradise, with Nicholas Cage, Dana Carvey and John Lovitz, and the bridge can be seen in the movie.
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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2008, 09:58:44 PM »

I completely forgot one of the stranger tourist attractions in Ontario. The town of St. Thomas has a life-sized statue of Jumbo the elephant, as well as a mural on a downtown building that also features Jumbo. What, you may ask, is the connection between P.T. Barnum's famous elephant and this Ontario town? Jumbo was hit by a train there in 1885, and folks in St. Thomas are pretty proud of that.

I suppose a claim to fame is a claim to fame. Take what you can get.
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2008, 10:34:19 PM »

Murals, we got murals ... bunch of them all up and down the flood wall.


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Jack
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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2008, 09:35:09 AM »

We've got these hideous things in our town:



It's supposed to be a heron.  Local business owners are encouraged by the board of gaudiness to purchase these things and paint them anyway they want.  The picture above shows what "anyway they want" means.  They're probably 8' tall.

And no, I have no idea why this particular one is depicted perched upon a pile of its own feces.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 09:45:48 AM by Jack » Logged

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