The Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau hosts its 23rd annual Be A Tourist In Your Own Town event Saturday, and for just a buck, Greater Lansing residents can check out their home from an outsider’s perspective.
“I think when you’re a fan of the place where you live, not only does that improve your day to day mood, but it makes you more likely to invite friends and family to come visit,” said Brendan Dwyer, manager of marketing communications at Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau. “That’s really the goal of the event, to educate and inspire residents about all that we have to see and do, so that people speak well of the Greater Lansing area to those that are not from here.”
The roster of participating attractions has grown from 18 at the event’s conception to include over 80 local partnerships. The $1 passport, available at multiple locations around Greater Lansing, allows locals access into these attractions for free, with some holding unique experiences unavailable at any other time.
“Some things are kind of ‘behind the scenes, you can only do it today’ types of things,” Dwyer said. “Most of the participants are offering either free admission with your passport, or if they don’t have an admission, they’re giving away something free.”
New features to the event this year include a tour of the Capital Region International Airport, a free showing of “Lego Batman” at Celebration! Cinema, a tour of Cooley Law School Stadium courtesy of the Lansing Lugnuts and a tour of the Michigan School for the Blind site.
“To keep the event fresh, we don’t always need to add a whole bunch of new events,” Dwyer said. “Part of what we’re trying to do is get residents to open their eyes to the things that have been around and are here all the time but that they don’t always take advantage of.”
Additionally, the Historical Society of Greater Lansing and the Lansing Labor Holiday Commemoration Committee will recreate a 1937 labor strike with a “traffic jam” in the downtown Lansing area. During the strike, which became known as the Lansing Labor Holiday, thousands of union members abandoned their cars in downtown Lansing, effectively shutting the city down.
“We are happy that this special piece of local history will finally be given the attention it deserves,” said MSU labor relations Professor John P. Beck, who chairs the committee.
Be A Tourist In Your Own Town is not only for those toting children.
Adult tourists have their own exclusive activities to partake in.
“We have quite a few beer, wine and spirits types of stuff,” Dwyer said. “Everything from distilleries like American Fifth to different breweries throughout. So if someone wanted to just do the ‘spirit trail,’ if you will, there are four or five different stops like that.”
If exclusive perks are not enough to entice, participants in Be a Tourist also have the opportunity to collect stamps in their passports at the various attractions throughout the month of June and win prizes. One prize is a $1,500 travel voucher from Capital Region International Airport. But Dwyer said the real prize is a better connection with your hometown.
“I think it’s important if you live around here, just for your own quality of life, to know what we have to see and do, to be a part of your community and find things that are off the beaten path,” Dwyer said. “You never know, you might find a new hobby or meet people that are like-minded.”
— Danielle Chesney
Be A Tourist in Your Own Town
“Be A Tourist in Your Own Town” 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, June 3 $1 See website for participating locations and passport purchasing sites (517) 487-2800, lansing.org/batyo