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Blues, Brews, Barbecue & Canoes

By Makenzie Holland (makenzie.holland@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: May. 27 | Modified: Jun. 7

During the summer months, friends come together with food and music in celebration of the new, long season likely to be full of adventure, mirth and cozy evening campfire talks.

Taking inspiration from this long-time tradition, the Blues, Brews, Barbecue and Canoes tourism expo will provide just that: an area for friends to come together and enjoy food, music and summer weather.

The fifth annual Blues, Brews, Barbecue and Canoes tourism expo revolves around equipping local tourism businesses and their employees with the necessary information they need to send High Country tourists in the right direction regarding food, extracurricular activities, lodging, etc.

The expo, created in 2010 by local whitewater outfitter Wahoo’s Adventures owner Jeff Stanley, will take place June 6 at Wahoo’s Adventures’ New River outpost. The “Outfitter of the Year” plans on providing attendees with ample amounts of time in the water, marketing director Virginia Roseman said.

“Anyone who works with any of the venues that are in the concierge kind, any frontline employee who gets to talk to guests, we want them to show up from 10 a.m. to noon to enjoy canoeing and kayaking for free, so they can better understand Wahoo’s,” Roseman said.

Following the free water activities, attendees will have the opportunity to walk around and talk to local businesses, some offering free food, wine and beer samples.

“Our job is to help educate our local frontline employees,” Roseman said. “To get them to know what to say when people say, ‘Where should I go, what should I do?’”

Roseman said the vast amount of tourists that comes through the High Country region every year requires employees to know everything possible about what there is to do in the area, as every visitor’s taste varies.

“One family loves hiking,” Roseman said. “The next family loves theate. The next loves shopping. We have to know where to send every family.”

The idea of taking care of the “local” is one of the most important aspects of this expo, Roseman said. Each business helps the others through recommendations to tourists.

“We all help each other,” Roseman said. “We all are connected together, and if one of us succeeds, all of us succeed, and that is something we should all be willing to share with each other.”

Joan Harmon with the KOA Campground has participated in the expo since its creation. While setting up the booth and passing out brochures is important, letting her employees have fun on the river with other tourism industry members is vital in creating connections.

“The most beneficial aspect for us is really meeting the other people,” Harmon said. “It’s just sort of a carnival atmosphere, and everybody’s happy, and you’re just talking to all the people you send people to, and they send people back to you.”

As this year marks the 36th anniversary of Wahoo’s Adventures and the fifth annual expo, Stanley could have some surprises in store for attendees, Roseman said.

“I am sure Jeff has something up his sleeve,” Roseman laughed. “Never doubt that.”

The expo is free to members of the tourism industry and will take place at Wahoo’s Adventures New River outpost. Directions can be found at Wahoo’s Adventures website http://www.wahoosadventures.com. Reservations for space at the event can be made by calling Wahoo’s Adventures at (828) 262-5774.

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