With all the unpleasantness in State College, PA related to the details of the crimes and cover-up, trials, the firing, the statue downing, sanctions, appeals of sanctions (which could actually trigger the narrowly avoided college football “death penalty”), etc., it is easy overlook the potential economic impact of everything on the Pennsylvania economy. Large numbers of visitors have flocked to central PA for college football in the Fall for generations and they often stay longer than just Saturday night and also return to PA to experience other fun attractions and activities. They tell friends and before you know it, Pennsylvania tourism is a model that other states try to emulate.
But what about now? What can draw visitors to PA each month in the post-Paterno era? Locals are worried and angry but not short on ideas. I’ve consulted experts in marketing, local tourism and Pennsylvania (as well as potential political candidates and other locals), and here is a sampling of their plans:
-Groundhog Saturdays in Punxatawney (Can anyone really get enough Phil?)
-“Pennsylvania Steagles” football games each weekend featuring surviving members of the original, legendary NFL Steagles and their children (and grandchildren)
– Noxen, PA Rattlesnake Roundups* Each Week (*”Rattlesnake Roundup Now Safer ’cause They’re Tired!”)
-The town of Mauch Chunk/Jim Thorpe, PA will now have a weekly renaming ceremony and parade with the remains of the famous athlete serving as Grand Marshall on odd-numbered weekends. “We’d like to get JoePa up there with Big Jim at some point; statue or bones is cool with us.” said one football loving PA local.
–Lebanon Bologna Drops at 11:59pm each Fri/Sat in addition to their legendary New Year’s Eve Bologna Drop. The Lebanon Bologna companies already sponsor a Bologna Fest and can easily alternate in sponsoring a weekly “Bologna & Eggs Breakfast Social!” the next morning serving the previous night’s projectile (note: a 200+ pounder has been dropped in recent years). This new weekly charity event is a natural for big time PA college football fans, because, who is more “full of bologna” they are. Sure, it is a letdown from their catered tailgates with lobster, pierogies with gold flakes and filet mignon, but how better to reintegrate with the regular and average folk of Pennsylvania, than to share their peasant food and traditions?
-Dick Thornburgh look-a-like contests in the state capitol of Harrisburg to both honor the former governor and US Attorney General but also to give some glory to Pennsylvania’s nerds and other bespectacled locals and visitors.
So, keep an eye out for these and other and great new PA promotions, let us know your ideas, and remember, “You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania!” (35)