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A city of sightseers

Lansingites get passports to explore their own town


In its 16th year, the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Be A Tourist In Your Own Town day is hitting new heights — so to speak.

The day-long event on Saturday, June 5, includes a feature sure to put butterflies in the stomachs of all who dare to take a look. Over The Edge, put on by the Team Lansing Foundation, will feature a few daredevils rappelling down the side of Lansing’s tallest building, the Boji Tower.

“I think that we’ll see lots of crowds checking that out because that’s so unique and different,” said GLCVB Vice President of Marketing Tracy Padot.

Finding the unique and different aspects of the city has always been the primary goal of Be A Tourist In Your Own Town.

“Legend has it that some folks came into town, got into a cab from the airport and asked the driver what was there to do in greater Lansing. The cab driver said, ’There’s nothing going on here. You need to just get back on the plane and go home,’” explains GLCVB Vice President of Marketing Tracy Padot. “We need to educate our residents about all there is to see and do in the area in hopes that they will become ambassadors and learn more about their community.”

Be A Tourist invites participants to see all Greater Lansing has to offer — from the Potter Park Zoo and the Michigan Historical Museum to the Impression 5 Science Center and the Lansing City Market. Guests can enjoy any number of attractions, and even though the event has existed for 16 years, the price has never changed: $1 for “passports,” which provide access to all sorts of attractions.

Like the price, the outcome never changes, either. Year after year, residents report that they never knew there was so much to do in their own hometowns until they experienced Be A Tourist.

“We do surveys after the event each year, and I’m always shocked at the number of people who say that they discovered something new,” Padot says. “We try to let people know all the hidden gems that are here in addition to the standards that most people are familiar with.”

Hidden gems such as the Michigan State University Demmer Center, where “tourists” can learn to shoot a bow and arrow. Or Burgdorf’s Winery in Haslett, which invites guests to a free wine tasting with cheese appetizers. And, for one day only, the Paramount Coffee Co. will offer guided tours of its roasting facilities.

And since there’s more to do in Lansing than one could possibly accomplish in one day, passport carriers can collect stamps all throughout the month of June at participating locations, with a chance to win prizes that gift certificates, hotel stays and the grand prize: a 10-person suite at the Aug. 6 Lansing Lugnuts game, when the team takes on the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

’Be a Tourist in Your Own Town’

10a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 5 $1 passports available at GreaterLansing Visitor Center, 500 E. Michigan Ave. Ste. 180, Lansing Alsoavailable at: AAA Michigan-Lansing Office; CATA CTC Station (Downtown);Celebration! Cinema; NCG Cinema at Eastwood Towne Center; Impression 5Science Center; Lansing Art Gallery; Arts Council of Greater Lansing(Old Town) www.lansing.org/batyot


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