It's Happening in Lansing

Posted 05/10/2011
Scott Keith is president and CEO of Lansing Entertainment & Public Facilities Authority (LEPFA)
The Greater Lansing Business Monthly

To borrow the phrase used by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in his 2011 State of the City address, "It's Happening in Lansing," we should take a moment to reflect on all the exciting and positive things happening in the area. This includes all the attractions and entertainment options in our region.

During a recent visit back to my hometown on the East Coast, I stopped into a shop where in the course of the conversation with the store proprietor, I was asked from where I was visiting. I not only replied, "Michigan" but "Lansing, Michigan." Her next question of me was, "What is there to do and see there?" I immediately replied, "Lots to see and do; what are you attracted to?" Her reply was, "Nature and scenery!" Without a hitch I went on to describe the River Trail, Woldumar/Harris/Fenner Nature Center(s), Cooley Gardens, the Ledges...and more.

Through my recent certification as a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA), an initiative of the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau to make our region more visitor friendly, I was able to provide an exhaustive explanation of the many attractions within our community.

In my involvement on various committees within our region and city, as well as the CTA program, one thing is abundantly clear: We need to take notice of the many assets and attractions our region has to offer visitors and brag about them every chance we get! We need to visit these local offerings and encourage others to take part in them as well. For instance, how many people are aware that our region hosts more than 50 different festivals? Or that the city of Lansing is home to approximately 200 races and runs, with the most prevalent being the 5K variety? And did you realize that we have both national productions and local productions of theater almost weekly in our backyard? When was the last time you visited a local museum or saw a local theater production?

These Greater Lansing offerings are as first rate as many that you will see in larger metropolitan areas. Ours happen to come without the congestion and challenge in scheduling, plus we have the benefits of attractions that are more personable and easier on the pocketbook.

Along with the many attractions and destinations that you may frequent regularly, maybe you are looking for an opportunity to find something new and different. Through a new venture, an event titled First Fridays is beginning to take shape this spring (Twitter hashtag: #FirstFri). This event will occur the first Friday of each month, and the focus is to "roll out the red carpet to our region." This event will provide an avenue for local restaurants, bars, retail establishments, attractions and entertainment/arts venues to present unique specials and extraordinary offers to residents and visitors alike. This initiative (www.lansingfirstfridays.com) will bring communities and areas together, encourage people to get involved in local attractions and offer affordable activities while supporting regional place making and economic development efforts.

There is already plenty happening in Lansing (and our surrounding region); these new offerings will spur renewed interest in our community. If you're looking for a reason to find something new to do, this is the opportunity-but don't forget all the things we already have in our region. Keep supporting them and brag about them every chance you get. Believe it or not, It's Happening in Lansing!

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