CLEAR LAKE, Iowa — A unique group of travel and destination professionals gathered this week at the iconic Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. The Building Community Conference invited travel writers and bloggers to meet with convention and tourism promoters across the Midwest.
“So we thought, why don’t we bring it to our backyard and teach people about the relationships you can build with writers and destinations that we’ve been successful building together and throughout the Midwest,” said Libbey Hohn, Director of Tourism for Clear Lake.
Displays from the Iowa destinations, the Twin Cities metro, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Kansas were all set up at the Surf Ballroom.
Attendees learned about travel bloggers and what kinds of things they are looking for. Sarah Broers of the Midwest Travel Bloggers Association writes about things she is interested in.
“I go somewhere to a town, I’m looking for the places that have bread pudding,” said Broers. “People like to watch on social media to find where Sarah is, if she’s having bread pudding, does she like the bread pudding, where can I find it, then I write a story about it.”
The group also heard from travel blogger JayJay Goodvin of Iowa City, who writes as the Iowa Gallivant.
“Just a family scrapbooking project back in 2014, we started doing projects in little towns,” said Goodvin. “All of a sudden, ka-boom, we realized that people wanted to read about Iowa, especially some of the obscurities.”
Goodvin told about one of his favorite obscure attractions, the Pyramids of Avery, Iowa. He wrote a post about it, detailing two men in the 1930s who were fascinated with Egypt. One man built the three pyramids in Hickory Grove Cemetery, with the intent of he and his friend being buried there. In the end, both men found their final resting spot in other cemeteries, but the pyramids are still there.
If you would like to read more about the pyramids or the Iowa Gallivant, click here.