So, I personally survived the Adirondack Challenge, as did the hundreds of volunteers who turned out to help pull off an amazing event in less than two months. Although many of us were disappointed that Gov. Cuomo decided to dine in North Creek at Gore Mountain instead of the planned venue at Byron Park, the event itself did what it was meant to do — showcase the beauty of the Adirondacks, highlight our beautiful lakes and rivers with paddling events, and get a couple of hundred city folk to head north, really north, to Indian Lake and raft the Hudson and Indian Rivers.
The media exposure we received is something we would never be able to afford. Highlights on CBS Morning News showed clips of Indian Lake, the Adirondacks, and informed the nation of our whereabouts. The chamber and the town together could never afford that advertising bill. Instead we got great coverage for FREE.
I have even heard that a handful of the rafting contestants have already returned to our area with their families to take in the complete experience on the Hudson all the way to North River. Will we ever be able to track if someone’s visit, or return visit, is because they learned about Indian Lake because of the Adirondack Challenge? Probably not, unless we ask.
The only downside to the whole event was we didn’t get the number of visitors the state people thought we would. 3,000 was their magic number. The real number was close to 1,000. That was disappointing for sure, but we (town, chamber, businesses and residents) were ready! We could have handled 3,000 — and now the folks in Albany and New York City know Indian Lake can handle a festival of this magnitude.
So in the end, our return on investment wasn’t instantaneous as we hoped. But there is a new Adirondack advertisement running on the television now that should be driving business our way. Let’s start asking visitors how they learned about our area to determine the success of the Governor’s first Adirondack Challenge.