A picture is worth a thousand visitors

Our State magazine highlights Forest City
Nov. 24, 2013 @ 08:22 AM

A picture is worth a thousand words and that fact could translate into thousands of extra visitors to the Town of Forest City during the Christmas season.

An almost full page color picture of downtown Forest City and carriage riders in the December issue of Our State Down Home in North Carolina is the town's favorite photograph and could generate more Christmas travelers than ever before, said Town Planner Danielle Withrow. 

With a circulation of 200,000 subscribers and about 800,000 readers, Withrow said Friday the town is preparing for the additional travelers.

The accompanying story was written by John Trump, former editor of The Daily Courier.

The story continues from page 237 to page 238 and the subsequent pages, "A North Carolina Glow" tells readers where to choose the other holiday light displays across the state — from a car, a caboose or the garden path.

Last year the Town of Forest City purchased an ad in the magazine "that cost several thousand dollars and we were still getting calls into July about the lights," Withrow said. 

"With this issue people will be leafing through the magazine at other peoples' homes and that is the first thing they are going to look for," Withrow said.

The December issue is usually a "keeper" and she expects the story will bring additional visitors for years to come.

The story's break out box includes the holiday schedules and the town's website www.forestcityevents.com.

"We have beefed up the website this year and also have asked the TDA (Tourism Development Authority) not to just put the link but also a Cube where people can click on the Cube and receive more information," Withrow continued. 

She said visitors from the eastern part of the state will find the map on the TDA link and be able to connect with the fact they can come and see the lights and stay for the weekend.

The town uses eight horse-drawn carriages from Carolina Carriage of Hickory and Cline Hamrick Carriages from Boiling Springs.

If the number of tourists increases significantly, the town will rent other carriages and horses from the Lake Lure area.

"We want first to see if they are needed," she said.

The streets are not blocked and the carriages roll through the town at the same time as as the passenger vehicles.

"We don't want to have too many, but we want to have enough," she said. 

Carriage rides will begin on Dec. 7 and continue Dec. 14 and Dec. 21.

The Christmas lighting ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving evening and continue until 9 p.m. 

In addition to the lighting ceremony, Facebook will announce its new grant recipients, there will be music, Santa's House will open and ice skating will also be available.