Column: Delta County winter tourism update

ESCANABA — With the conclusion of the first month of the New Year, we are well into our winter tourism season and the weather has been wonderful for local events and activities. Last weekend featured nearly perfect conditions for several local happenings including two events that reached new milestones in attendance. The Rapid River Relic Riders 12th Annual Event brought hundreds of visitors showcasing their vintage snowmobiles to our area. Fayette Historic State Park also hosted a successful Lantern Lit Trail Experience that brought over 600 visitors who snowshoed, hiked, or skied through lantern lit pristine tracks. Fayette Park Supervisor Randy Brown said they had more visitors at the event than ever before and the turnout was incredible. I also spoke with Relic Rider organizer David Shope who said they had a record breaking ride and show.

Visit Escanaba is busy carrying out the organization’s 2018 marketing plan to attract more visitors to the area and partnered with the Relic Riders and Fayette to promote these special events. Both events are looking to expand and add more value in the future due to the growth and success they are having. New and returning guests are coming to Delta County to experience our events, parks, trails, restaurants, and so much more every winter.

Another event that we are looking forward to this winter is the FIRST Robotics competition in Escanaba on March 15 -17. Hundreds of visitors will travel to our area for multiple days and nights as they watch this exciting scholastic sport. The event is significant for our area as it supports many key industries including education, workforce development, economic development, and tourism.

Teams of high school students build a working robot and enter competitions across the state and nationally. Our region is one of the select few that hosts a FIRST Robotics competition. Visit Escanaba is partnering with Escanaba schools, Michigan Works! and an incredible group of volunteers to showcase the area to hundreds of visitors that the competition will draw. Event coordinators Marie Young, Lisa Valiquette, Holly Peoples, and Deb Doyle are key superstars that pull this event together year after year. Local businesses also step in with support and sponsorships for the event. This level of community support really shows event participants, their friends, and families how great it is to visit our area.

Winter is such an exciting time in Delta County with an abundance of events and recreational opportunities for visitors. This community is working hard to expand current winter offerings and support new developments that will attract more visitors and drive economic success. Visit Escanaba is a partner working locally with talented businesspeople and organizations to shine a light on Delta County and the Upper Peninsula in every season.

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Robert Micheau is a part of Visit Escanaba