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Armstrong: Kite Fest draws crowds

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

On Sunday, the DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau Kite Fest Committee celebrated the seventh annual DeKalb Kite Fest. We had visitors from Wisconsin, Indiana, Rockford and many from the Chicago suburbs that traveled to DeKalb County to watch the skies fill with colorful kites of all shapes and sizes.

We want to thank our lead sponsors from Kishwaukee Community Hospital, NB&T, Sieperts LLC Co. and Morningstar Media for helping to continue this highly anticipated annual event. There are countless others to thank including all the community volunteers that help keep Kite Fest safe and fun for everyone. Kite Fest will be Sept. 8 in 2013. Mark your calendars now.

Work begins on visitor guide

The bureau is working on the 2013 DeKalb County Visitors Guide. The guide is our premiere marketing piece that helps attract visitors, new residents and businesses to DeKalb County. We purchase partnerships with key visitor distribution centers that provide maximum exposure and bring those tourist dollars back to DeKalb County. Our guides are on display and provided free to tourists at the following locations: 10 Tourism Information Centers throughout Illinois; O’Hare, Hinsdale, Belvidere and DeKalb oasis kiosks; Navy Pier and other Chicagoland tourist attractions; Wisconsin, and the Quad Cities.

This year, for the first time, 10,000 visitor guides will be distributed to Northern Illinois University students, parents and staff as part of our ongoing partnership and marketing strategy to better connect with and engage this audience. Obviously, we stand to generate even more tourism dollars when they are informed about all there is to see and do in DeKalb County.

Another first this year will be a visitor coupon book that the DCCVB will distribute as a benefit to those who choose DeKalb County as a destination. Local businesses will have the opportunity to purchase ad space in the coupon book to keep their business for all these visitors.

This is a great way to reach thousands of visitors who are making choices about where to spend their money while they are here. Both the visitor guides’ and coupon books’ advertising space are sold by our local partners at Shaw Media. To purchase ad space, call Lisa Angel at 815-756-4841, ext. 236.

‘At Any Price’ update

The indie film, “At Any Price,” that was shot in parts of DeKalb County last year will debut on the film festival circuit this fall. The director, Ramin Bahrani, and many of the actors (Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Heather Graham and Kim Dickens) have been spotted on red carpets in Venice, Telluride, Sundance and Toronto promoting the film.

Sony acquired the distribution rights to the film. An official release date has not been announceWe hope to have that release date to share with everyone soon. Look for that on our Facebook page.

One thing for sure is that the film had a major economic impact for DeKalb County and providing many of our residents the opportunity to be in a film and also meet the cast and crew that called DeKalb County home for five months last year. The film brought in more than $950,000 to county businesses.

Tourism’s economic impact

The dollars generated by tourism spending in DeKalb County was up 9.7 percent from the previous year. The total dollars generated came in at $78.62 million. Tourism also is responsible for $12.1 million in payroll and employs 520 people in DeKalb County.

Area hotels generated more than $370,000 in sales tax revenue. This is their largest reported revenue since 2006.

Tourism spending is alive and thriving in DeKalb County. All the dollars generated from effective marketing and promotion go back into our local businesses and communities to provide a better quality of life for our residents.

Remember to keep updated by checking our website for a comprehensive countywide calendar of events at www.dekalbcountycvb.com.

• Debbie Armstrong is executive director of the DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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