Prowers Lodging Panel Approves Historical Encampment Return to LCC


A unanimous vote by the Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel helped pave the way for the return of the popular Lamar Community College Frontier History Encampment for September 27-28th.  The director, Kelley Emick, received $3,000 towards marketing for the event which has been held on campus every two years since 2005.

Barb Melfi as Annie Oakley at Encampment

Forty to sixty historic interpreters portray individuals and groups involved in the development of the American West, mostly from 1800 to 1890. The free event allows attendees to spend as much time as they wish at each open-air display, looking at artifacts and listening to the interpreters describe their lives from that period.  Close to 1,000 people view the exhibits although the number of students attending has unfortunately declined due to the four day school week.  Emick said ‘History Colorado’ added the event to their Tours and Treks itinerary and they anticipate a separate group of from 20-25 people to spend two nights in Lamar for the viewing.  Friday’s event is open from Noon to 5pm and from 9am to 4pm on Sunday.

Trapper Displays Goods at Encampment

Panel members spent the majority of their monthly meeting, August 20th, discussing how best to move forward with the plans to use its funding to engage the services of a marketing Group, VistaWorks Destination Marketing. The Prowers County Commissioners, who oversee Lodging Panel expenditures, wanted a review of the by-laws to ensure hiring the firm was within the legal scope of the Panel.  Bryan Jordan of VistaWorks presented a contract for approval which charges $19,000 a year for its services to market and brand Prowers County as a whole as a destination site for overnight visits.  Specific events would also be included in the social media presentation for the public.

As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details,” and that holds true on the logistics of this advertising concept. “We’ve already set up facebook and Instagram and have begun to make contact with representatives from the Colorado Tourism Organization,” Jordan explained.  He said members of his group will plan a future, three-day immersion trip to meet with Panel members and community representatives to get an overall picture of what Prowers County can offer a visitor.

That type of information will perhaps become just one page of a thick book as continuous information about activities will be forwarded to VistaWorks. Who is going to do that has yet to be ironed out.  Commissioner Ron Cook asked, “What path will the information follow?  Will the event organizers continue to contact the Lodging Panel who then forwards the information to VistaWorks or to you directly?”  He stated everyone needs to be on the same page regarding specifics of this nature.

Time is growing tight for the preparation of the 2020 Lodging Panel budget which is usually presented to the County by their October deadline. The VistaWorks fee may necessitate some belt tightening by the Panel to funding requests for annual events, some of which are in the five figure range.  A sub-committee of the Panel will begin to meet prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting, set for September 17th.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarCollegeEducationEntertainmentFeaturedHistoryRecreationSchoolThe ArtsTourism


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