Fairfield celebrates Travel & Tourism Week with events, awards and awareness

Written by Theresa Rose on May 8, 2018

Fairfield, (Iowa) – Travel and Tourism Week, established by a congressional resolution in 1983, serves as the backdrop for the Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau to champion the impact tourism has on the economy and quality of life. Tourism week, which began Sunday, May 6 and goes through Saturday, provides the catalyst to honor and recognize the tourism partners that contribute to the Fairfield experience.
The Bureau is using Travel & Tourism week to highlight attractions and products that drive visitors. The tourism office is excited to roll out the Be a Visitor in Your Own Backyard campaign, which encourages residents to see Fairfield through the eyes of a visitor and experience the history, arts and culture and that is uniquely found amongst the cornfields in Fairfield and Jefferson County.
The Fairfield Visitors Bureau is excited to partner with the Maasdam Barns committee to host a free event, inviting people from Jefferson County and across southeast Iowa to the Barns on Thursday, May 10 from 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. to enjoy tours of the historic jewel, the Maasdam Barns and folk music from singer-songwriter and story teller, Jeffrey Hedquist of rural Jefferson County.  Sweet n Saucy will have their food truck on site serving a limited quantity of complimentary barbecue.

“We are excited to use this week as a springboard and shine a spotlight on the Maasdam Barns and other attractions and partners that drive tourism and make Fairfield a unique destination and place to live,” said Rustin Lippincott, director of the Bureau. “We hope it serves as a reminder to appreciate what’s in our own backyard. We are fortunate to live in a community with the leadership, employees and volunteers that work tirelessly to position Fairfield as a unique travel destination.”
Lippincott and assistant director of the Bureau, Terry Baker commend the many hours the Maasdam Barns committee has spent learning the history, enhancing the grounds and buildings as well as raising the necessary funds required to get the Barns prepared to demonstrate and provide hands on experiences to the agriculture history of Jefferson County.
“The Barns have so much history between the walls and throughout the grove,” said Lippincott “If you have never been to the Barns, or have been wanting to revisit, now is the time to learn about Maasdam family, and step back in time and live like a farmer and, of course, embrace an important part of Fairfield’s history.”
According to Tony Webb, president of the Maasdam Barns Board of Directors, the Maasdam Barns offer a perfect blend of the agriculture and industrial history of Fairfield and Jefferson County.          “The Barn exhibits cover an extensive part of Fairfield’s history,” said Webb. “We have displays that tell the story of the Maasdam family and their champion draft horses. We also have the famous ‘Charter Oak” farm wagons on site and an extensive history and display of Louden manufacturing, a Fairfield Company that was a major contributor to modern farming.”
“The Bureau is committed to, not only aggressively marketing Fairfield as a great place to visit, but also reminding residents they made a great decision to live in Jefferson County,” said Lippincott.  “I’m very proud to say that tourism is thriving in Fairfield. We have seen tourism grow in Fairfield year after year and an important part of that growth comes from Fairfield residents playing the role of tourism ambassadors.”
On Friday, May 11 the Bureau concludes Travel and Tourism Week with Fairfield’s Out to Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The celebratory event, Fairfield’s Out to Lunch is designed to invite people to the iconic Square to be together, celebrating the music and food scene that makes Fairfield attractive to visitors and enhances life for the residents.
“Grab your friends, get some food from a local restaurant, or HyVee grill and meet us on the Square as Fairfield goes out to lunch,” said Terry Baker, assistant director at the Bureau.  “Music kicks off at 11:30 a.m. with the Fairfield High School award winning Jazz Band, followed by VOX, the elite a cappella choir. Headlining Fairfield’s Out to Lunch is Fairfield’s Riverdogs Blues Band. Veterans of the Fairfield vibrant and eclectic music scene, the ‘Dogs blues band is a soulful and gritty blend of hill country blues with gospel inspired rhythm and blues.”
Tourism is an industry that relies on human interaction to create a positive visitor experience. Tourism in Jefferson County employs nearly 400 and the tourism and hospitality sector has contributed to Fairfield and the many return visits that drive the hotel-motel tax collection, which has increased 106% since the adoption of the lodging tax collection by popular vote.
“Fairfield wouldn’t have received the numerous accolades over the last year, if we didn’t have strong partners representing Fairfield to our visitors,” said Lippincott. “The front lines and behind the scenes and counters at the attractions, hotels, restaurants, shops and other businesses give great cause to celebrate.
Lippincott added, “Through visitor surveys, social media, and engaging with visitors in person, we hear so often how friendly and helpful the people are here. It’s only fitting that with the backdrop of National Travel and Tourism Week, we shine the Fairfield spotlight on those individuals,”
New this year, the Bureau is honoring businesses and individuals who have created a positive visitor experience with tourism awards, voted on by the visitors and residents, in the following categories, as determined by visitors and residents: Best Restaurant Experience, Best International Restaurant Experience, Best Shopping Experience, Best Bar/Pub Experience and Best Live Music Venue.
The Bureau also accepted nominations for three T.R.E.E. Awards – Tourism Recognition for Excellence in Experiences– which recognizes employees in the tourism and hospitality industry who positively enhance visitor experiences during their stay in Fairfield. The categories, Lodging Employee, Restaurant Employee and Tourism Volunteer will be presented to employees who distinguish themselves through enthusiasm and exemplary service.
Named for the City of Fairfield and Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau logos’ Tree of Inspiration, the Tourism Recognition for Excellence in Experiences shares qualities with the Tree – creative energy, diversity, a painter’s pallet and growth. The award and the Tree can be seen as a fountain emanating great ideas and performances and the colorful interlocking “leaves” suggest connectivity and interaction with the visitor.
“We are committed to putting an emphasis on our tourism product and the reasons people visit Fairfield. It’s our businesses, organizations, people and events that create experiences and help tell the Fairfield story,” said Lippincott. “The T.R.E.E. Awards are the best of the best in Fairfield and Jefferson County. The awards will honor individuals who work in the hotels and restaurants and those who volunteer in tourism related areas.”
These awards will be presented at 12:15 p.m. Friday from the Gazebo as part of the Fairfield’s Out to Lunch event.
Tourism drives Fairfield’s economy through visitor spending at restaurants, hotels, shops, gas stations, attractions and recreation venues and is a $40.45 million dollar industry in Jefferson County. Tourism, driven by overnight stays in the hotels and bed & breakfast lodges, generates tax revenues for our local municipalities and ultimately lowers the tax burden on residents. It provides jobs and income for our residents, and business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Tourism fosters a positive quality of life for those who live and work here and creates a sense of place that is equally enjoyed by both visitors and residents.