INTERNAL MEMO: NOT FOR RELEASE
Whiteville City Council has released a preliminary report from our consultants, Krankenheit and Schmutz (KS). As you recall they were retained through an NC State Tourism Economic Development grant. These memo points will be discussed in a closed-door session before our regular first Tuesday meeting.
DO NOT DISCUSS WITH MEDIA OR PUBLIC.
The Status Quo: Whiteville is on the edge of a major tourist economy without offering us any economic benefit. Enormous numbers of holidaymakers pass the Whiteville highway exits each year and their only thought is whether they have enough gas to get to the coast. There is nothing here that makes it a destination or a reason to spend the night.
How to Change This: KS has done some market surveys of tourist demographics and interests. Their recommendations are presented in a marketing concept titled “WHITEVILLE PROUD!”
- Our name is our brand. Let Whiteville be White-ville. All across the country there are beautiful statues, pulled down and hidden from view. We should access these and set up a statue park in the cotton field behind the foreclosed “Chick-n-Beer” within sight of the eastbound lanes. Although a public garden like this might not create a lot of overnight stay or meal purchases, we believe that this exhibit would create a semi-continuous series of gatherings, both to protest and to support. By designing a site plan that concentrates all protests in a small area, KS suggests that a wide variety of economic opportunities will result. They have suggested that the resulting violence will create good-paying jobs in law enforcement, bail bonding, legal services and accommodation for tourists who find themselves moving friends and relatives through due process. We also predict an increase in necessary medical service providers.
- To provide a catalyst effect, the City would anonymously fund two ‘cultural’ organizations. One would create events to promote ‘social justice’. The other would ‘stand up for our heritage’. They would co-ordinate with like minded groups to call for people willing to set aside a day in their vacation to ‘stand up for our values.”
- Ideas for an annual event similar to the Blueberry of Azalea Festivals have been discussed. We were advised that calling it the Cross Burning Festival might be a step over the line. ‘Antebellum Days’ seems to be where we end up, and would feature cotillions for girls and whip handling demonstrations for boys. Also a buck-board race with pregnant women in the back, like Gone With The Wind could be a big draw.
- An Annual film festival, like Cucalorus in Wilmington but with old favorites like Cabin in the Sky, Song of the South and Little Black Sambo cartoons for the kids.
- Our consultants tell us that there is little interest in real history. People just want a history that fits their preconceived notions. So we will invent the Battle of Whiteville. Battle re-enactments have proven very lucrative at many Civil War sites. Film people are great at creating compelling stories. Their prop builders can create the needed ‘original’ documents and artifacts. Fake Historic Markers will lend credibility. There is farmland available with two vacant fake plantation houses just south of the Union Road exit, whose name will be changed to Jefferson Davis Drive. Tourists can see a battle where General Jubilation T. Cornpone routs the third Massachusetts Fusiliers with a charge up what is now known as Dairy Queen Hill. We would expect some equine support industries to take advantage of the market opportunities. Given the total lack of scrutiny by the State in these matters, we assume grant money to build a Battle Museum would be available.
- Ken Burns has allowed us to re-edit his famous PS Civil War series so that an alternate version of how the war ends will be available for sale.
NOTE: The Mayor asked our consultants to test the water for including Godzilla as an element in the Battle of Whiteville storyline. He’s very popular right now. Initial market testing showed that people were quite willing to believe that a giant radioactive lizard was involved in the defeat of the Northern army, but using the Godzilla name might challenge the credulity of some of the serious history buffs. So a nameless giant lizard will be part battle re-enactment. And, in keeping with modern cultural trends, and proving we are not a city of Philistines, the lizard will be female.