Yet Cuomo, with deep roots in New York City politics, brings something else to the table that other Adirondack-loving governors have not — the understanding of how to draw attention to this region — get people involved, especially from the downstate movers and shakers in business and politics.
Throw them in a whitewater raft knowing they’ll enjoy the natural beauty, camaraderie of a paddling team, the spirit of competitiveness and fun, and give them a cold Adirondack beer at the end of the day. Show them a good time, and make some memories. That’s what people will remember the most when it comes time to make decisions about this special place in northern New York. And it’s those memories that will generate positive word-of-mouth advertising and lead to an increase in tourism.
We only hoped the governor would let New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg win the second Adirondack Challenge whitewater rafting race down the Indian River on Monday, July 22. This way, Bloomberg would have bragged about it for years, adding even more word-of-mouth value to the experience. Instead, the governor’s competitiveness overpowered his political savvy. Everyone has their weakness. Cuomo just had to win the second race, too.
The rumblings of criticism about the thousands of people who didn’t show up to the Adirondack Challenge Festival in Indian Lake this past weekend are unfair, especially since there was a good crowd of locals and tourists in town. Expectations may have been too high.
We think some people lost sight of the real purpose of the Adirondack Challenge. It wasn’t to attract tourists for one weekend; it was to attract tourists for many weekends in the future.
Thanks to the free publicity and the I Love NY advertising campaign for the Adirondack Region, we hope to see thousands more tourists from New York City, Long Island and Westchester County visit these mountains in the months and years ahead, instead of heading to Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine for their vacations.
All in all, the governor’s publicity stunt was well worth the time and money, and we thank him for all the attention.
We must also thank the dozens of volunteers and organizers who hosted the townwide festival in Indian Lake for their time, hard work and hospitality. They were somewhat overshadowed by the governor, but they played one of the most important roles over the weekend. They showed the visitors a good time, as they always do, with a smile and a “Come back again soon.”