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Letters: Crescent City murals could provide tourist draw to city

I want to chime in on this ongoing thread regarding murals in Crescent City. I just returned from spending some time in Toppenish, Wash. This is a quaint little agricultural town in the middle of the Yakima Indian Reservation. Normally not much to see or do there. However, this little town has taken to putting up murals to not only beautify the city, but to provide an anchor for its tourist attraction. These murals are a pictorial presentation of the history of the town, the Yakima Valley and of the native population.

The murals have become the focal point for this community. Two activities really seem to not only please the "locals" but are a huge draw for tourists. The first is the annual "Mural in a Day" event. It is just as its name says. In a single day the community comes together and paints a mural somewhere in the city. Of course there is a lot of prep work that occurs prior to to this event. The wall is cleaned, primed, and the mural design is drawn on. The areas to be painted are marked much like the old "paint-by-the-number" pictures. (Remember, the volunteers are NOT professional artists.)Once an area has been painted a trained artist comes along and adds the highlights and shading to bring it all together.

During this event bleachers are set up, traffic is re-routed, food and other vendors set up, musical entertainment is provided. There is often a dance afterwards and it is just a wonderful day while hundreds of tourists, with their dollars,come to watch "paint dry."

The second activity that occurs is a horse drawn wagon tour of all of the murals, there are now 79 of them. This tour winds around town and the tour guide points out each mural and gives a quick history of it along with the story it is telling. The guide also points out the various businesses in town and what they have to offer. Restaurants, drug stores, clothing stores, specialty shops, and other quirky places for the tourist to leave their money.

What I am getting at is that our murals are a good thing. We just need to capitalize on it, expand it, and promote it. Let's tell the history of Crescent City and Del Norte County in pictures. Have tours of downtown Crescent City and promote and revitalize the area while beautifying it. There is too much run down, sad looking parts to our town and way too many blank walls. I have included the Web site for the murals at Toppenish so you can see what one city has done:

www.toppenish.net/attractions/murals.php

We could do the same kind of thing. Remember the festival we used to have in the harbor? Remember the 3rd Street festivals we used to have? It's time to bring those kinds of things back to Crescent City.

Bob Kleppin

Crescent City

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