The tourism economy in Granite Falls is an area that has a lot of room for growth. Our assets are many including the Minnesota River, Fagen Fighter WWII Museum, Andrew Volstead House, Roebling footbridge, beautiful old buildings and our riverside plazas. The Meander Art Crawl coming up on the weekend of September 29-October 1 brings visitors from many locations and the planned River Voices art project will be another reason for people to come to Granite Falls.

This summer, we've had several bus tours that visit both the Fagen Museum and the Volstead House with the Prohibition Story walking tour. Another tour is coming on October 4 so make sure to greet these visitors from Minneapolis. A car club will be doing the same thing on October 30 as well as attending the Musical Chairs event on September 29.

Tickets are on sale now at the chamber office for Musical Chairs - $28 includes all meal courses as well as a complimentary glass of wine or soft drink at the K.K. Berge building which is the first stop featuring music by Con Allegra. Different live musical acts are featured with the rest of the courses which are appetizers at Granite Bowl, salad at the American Legion, soup at Dallas II, entree at Granite Run and dessert at The Rock.

----------

I belong to three different area organizations promoting tourism in our area: Southern Minnesota Tourism Association, Western Minnesota Prairie Waters and the Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway. Last week I attended the Southern Minnesota Tourism meeting which includes Chambers and CVBS across the entire southern Minnesota area. Paid staff from Explore Minnesota explain the newest marketing ideas but the county funding all goes to marketing.

This year, we tried using Pandora radio, e-mail blasts as well as the printed guide. It's an opportunity to make sure our local events and attractions get mentioned and featured in the guide. It's also a great networking opportunity and a chance to talk about our area and exchange printed information as well.

Next September, this group will meet in Granite Falls. I believe a town that is attractive to visitors is also attractive to new employees. New events, art exhibits, live theater and music, good restaurants, local beer and wine, a vibrant farmer's market and river recreation all help our businesses, school and hospital to attract new employees that want to make Granite Falls their home. _________