Published: Jun 30, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Jun 29, 2012 01:00 PM
Just how edgy is Chapel Hill?
Way over on the fringe, according to a new tourism campaign launched last week by the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau. The bureau unveiled the $300,000 campaign at a celebration at the Top of the Hill Distillery (located in the same building that houses this newspaper, but the booze and the News are kept quite separate, which is probably for the best for all concerned).
The new tourism campaign is called “Edge of the Triangle,” and it invites visitors to “travel the fringe of the mainstream.”
That characterization, it seems to us, is certainly legitimate if you’re talking about North Carolina politics; Orange County, we are proud to say, was by far the county most heavily opposed to Amendment One, the state constitutional amendment declaring invalid any form of domestic union other than heterosexual marriage.
Culturally, Chapel Hill offers many wonderful things, but we’d venture to say we’ve been eclipsed on the fringe meter by Asheville and (sorry, but it’s true) Durham.
You find a certain irreverent scruffiness in those places that well-heeled Chapel Hill has largely polished smooth. There might once have been a market for “Keep Chapel Hill weird” bumper stickers, but that moment is long past.
But that’s OK. Weirdness isn’t everything.
As for “Edge of the Triangle,” these sorts of promotional campaigns invariably draw sniping from the more cynical among us. If you have to tell people how cool you are, it’s easy to point out, you’re probably not that cool.
But we applaud the goal of attracting more visitors to town, and of keeping them engaged here longer.
The thing is, it has to be about more than marketing. You have to have unique and compelling things to market – and that’s what we want to hear from you about.
From the perspective of culture and tourism, what is Chapel Hill doing right? What else ought we be doing?
We can think of several top-of-the-head examples in both categories.
As for things we have going for us, the Sacrificial Poets are one of the most creative and inspiring groups of young artists around anywhere.
The Southern Village outdoor music series is terrific, and the Locally Grown concert and film series downtown rocks. There’s nothing like music and movies outdoors on a summer evening. And we’re happy that the organizers of the series have lined up some of the area’s most interesting and engaging original performers.
As for new ideas, a minute and a half of newsroom brainstorming came up with this one: make creative use of the dead space between the two halves of Village Plaza by holding a food truck rodeo there (come on, Town Council, ease up on the food truck rules; how edgy can we claim to be if food trucks are too far out for us?).
So there are a few thoughts. We want to hear yours: What do we have here that people should know about? And what else do we need?
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.