By Linda Whitmore
It’s official: Silverton is really cool! A travel magazine says so.
Budget Travel magazine recently conducted a contest to determine the coolest small towns in the America. Silverton placed in the top 10 – tying for eighth place. “We are the only town on the West Coast to get the honor so we like to think of ourselves as the Best of the West,” Chamber Executive Director Stacy Palmer said.
The magazine recently announced winners on the CBS Early Show and will publish a feature about Silverton in its October issue. This, Palmer acknowledges, will be too late for this year’s primary tourist season, but will be a boost for fall travel. The Chamber will use the designation in its promotions for the season’s advantages and activities.
“It’s a mystery how we got nominated,” Palmer said, but once word of the online competition got out, local residents were encouraged to cast votes for their hometown. Several people posted comments and pictures on the contest Web site. The Chamber also submitted photos of the town.
“I posted pictures of The Oregon Garden, the davenport races, Pet Parade – things that are unique about Silverton – as well as downtown photos and such,” Palmer said.
Chamber President Steve Way also was pleased about the honor. He said criteria for consideration included having art galleries and being able to get a good cup of coffee. “But the point remains that Silverton is so much more,” he said, then listed such lifestyle attributes as the Fine Arts Festival, the Wine and Jazz Festival, Pet Parade, Homer Davenport Days, having one of the best hospitals in the country, The Oregon Garden and lots of great restaurants.
“Silverton is cool – and in my book we are number one,” Way said.
Now the Chamber is working to use the designation to boost tourism and business. A committee has developed a two-part plan and created a logo saying Silverton is one of the top-10 coolest small towns in the country.
The logo is available at no cost to all who want to use it in their promotions. Palmer said the logo could be posted on real estate companies’ Web sites and materials they send out to prospective buyers. Merchants could use it on their advertising. Schools could have it on their Web sites, which are looked at by prospective residents checking out educational opportunities.
In addition, the Chamber is launching a publicity campaign outside the area. Plans are still in the making, and are based on the budget, but include advertising in travel publications, including Budget Travel, AARP magazine, RV and gardening magazines.
“The mission is to generate visitor traffic and get people to come spend their money here,” Palmer said.
The logo will be on ads the Chamber uses and on materials it places in visitors centers within a two-hour drive of town.
“For a small town we have so many amenities – it’s amazing,” Palmer said, listing the theater, swimming pool, parks, library, galleries and other distinctions that many small communities do not have. “We don’t have cookie-cutter shops. Our shops are unique. They are cool,” she said.
Palmer is jazzed about the award.
“I get to tell people how cool we are almost every day. This designation validates what I have been saying all along.”