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From the Publisher's Desk


Dear Readers,

Wow, what a weekend! If I had to describe the recent eclipse experience in West Plains, "awesome" would be the understatement of the century. And yeah, I know "awesome" gets tossed around like confetti these days, especially by people from my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-loving generation. But truly, this eclipse, along with the entire weekend of festivities, was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

The spectacle that graced our skies was one for the books, a natural phenomenon that you really have to see to believe. But let's not forget the ground level magic happening all around us during the "Party in the Path" extravaganza. Spearheaded by Explore West Plains, our city's tireless tourism department, this four-day bash was a testament to the hard work and dedication of some very special individuals.

A huge shoutout is in order for Melissa Wharton, the Director of Tourism, and Terry Hampton, a key player on her team. These two have poured their hearts and souls into promoting our lovely town and pulling off an event of this magnitude. Their efforts over the past two years have not only put West Plains on the map but have also created a weekend we'll all remember for years to come.

However, amidst the celebrations, I've stumbled upon a wave of negativity on social media concerning the number of visitors we hosted. To those naysayers, I've got to ask, "Were you even at the same event?" Everywhere I turned, I was bumping elbows with folks from out of town, each one eager to take in the sights and sounds of our community. And let's set the record straight: the city never promised a specific number of visitors. So, let's quit spreading unfounded rumors, shall we?

To the vendors who felt short-changed by the turnout, I pose a question: "What did you do to draw in these out-of-towners?" Did you put your name out there with radio spots, newspaper ads, or targeted social media campaigns? Remember, it's on on the city to bring people to West Plains, but it's on you to entice them through your doors.

It's disheartening to see local business owners pointing fingers and crying foul over missed expectations. Before jumping on that bandwagon, consider whether your offerings aligned with the interests of eclipse chasers. These visitors were here for a specific experience, one meticulously crafted with back-to-back activities. It's no surprise they gravitated towards the most visible and convenient options.

If your business didn't see the influx you hoped for, it might be time for some introspection rather than blaming. The "Party in the Path" was a monumental success, bringing together people from all walks of life to celebrate not just the celestial event of a lifetime but the spirit of our community.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed to making this event unforgettable. Your hard work and dedication have shown what West Plains is truly about—community, unity, and the ability to throw an incredible party under the stars.

Let's carry this positive energy forward, supporting one another and celebrating every victory, big or small. Here's to the next adventure that brings us together in such a spectacular way!

Warm Regards,
Chris Herbolsheimer
Publisher, West Plains Daily Quill & West Plains Gazette