Friday, April 9, 2010

Fun or fear?

For better or worse, most people in the Sun Valley area make their livings by creating fun or engaging in an occupation that supports it.

Last weekend's new and hilarious pond skimming event on Dollar Mountain and the winter rail jams were tons of fun. However, they attracted mostly local people and visitors lucky enough to be here.

Even so, they were highly visible signs that the area may be refocusing on the business of having fun by creating new events that attract the very young people who will be future residents and visitors.

A successful event is like a pebble in a pond—the ripples spread far and wide. But the trick in making fun good business is to create bigger and more visible ripples.

Well-executed events require three things: a place to have them, people to produce them and advertising to ensure that people know about them.

With the construction sector stalled in recession, the valley's major job-producing resource is fun. This spring and summer, valley people will have to decide if they will invest in fun—or leave their future and the local economy to chance.

Hailey voters will face this question in a big way next month when they decide whether to tax themselves to raise $3.5 million for a new rodeo arena, covered hockey rink and an expanded skate park.

City councils in Ketchum and Sun Valley will face the same question as they decide whether to again starve their marketing budgets because they perceive marketing as frivolous, unimportant, or an intrusion upon constituents' private Idaho.

What will prevail, fun or fear? Who will control, freethinkers or fuddy-duddies? A lot depends on the answers.

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