Ottumwa & Wapello County receive state tourism award

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Ottumwa, Iowa – Oct. 23, 2014 – The Iowa Tourism Office and Travel Federation of Iowa lauded Ottumwa and Wapello County for the “Outstanding Niche Market Initiative” at the annual Iowa Tourism Awards on Oct. 23.

The initiative award recognized the pitch video designed to persuade the English folk-rock band Mumford & Sons to select Ottumwa as a future site of its “Gentlemen of the Road” concert series. The idea was conceived by Larry Gawronski, executive director of Bridge View Center and co-sponsored by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation and Ottumwa Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The video was created using the music of the band’s triple-platinum selling song “I Will Wait”, but the lyrics were changed to “We Can’t Wait” as in we can’t wait for the band to come to Ottumwa. Shots were captured from across the city and county featuring the Ottumwa High School Meistersingers and football players; Indian Hills men’s basketball team and drama class; Cardinal elementary students; American Gothic House Center volunteers; Ottumwa City Council; and many others.

The project represented a great collaboration of many different groups and an extraordinary diversity of people in terms of ages and races.

The Ottumwa and Wapello County initiative was judged the best in a category with four nominees from much larger cities. The competition consisted of the Greater Des Moines CVB, Living History Farms, Davenport’s River Music Experience, and Union Pacific Railroad in Council Bluffs.

The Iowa Tourism Awards ceremony occurred during the annual Iowa Tourism Conference being held in Council Bluffs Oct. 22-24. Ottumwa and Fairfield will host the conference Oct. 21-23, 2015.