Become an advocate for your town

South Park City Museum

Children running through South Park City Museum, a town/museum made up of a collection of historic buildings from around Part County. Located in Fairplay, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

Small towns are full of character and characters, and that’s what makes travel across this country so great. Meeting interesting people, trying new restaurants, exploring the unknown and learning a little about an area are the reasons I enjoy being a tourist.

However, when you meet a tourist in your own town, are you excited to tell them about your community, or do you struggle to find something nice to say?

You can be an advocate for your town, and if you are, the economic impact is beneficial to all.

So, how can you be an advocate of your town? First, you need to become a tourist, and here are a few ways to make that happen:

1.   Visit the local museum or historical sites. Most towns have a museum or two, and some have historical landmarks. You may be amazed at what you learn. For instance, the first time I visit my town’s museum I learned that the region used to be covered in cherry orchards. This was news to me,  and explained why the community celebrates a Cherry Pie Festival every summer.

2.   Try a new restaurant. We all have our favorite hometown eatery and often we fear branching out and trying something new. But if you don’t stretch your taste buds a little, you won’t know everything your town has to offer. The new bistro down the street may have the best eggs benedict in the world, but if you don’t try it out, you’ll never know.

blue house south party city museum Colorado

South Park City Museum, Fairplay, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

3.   Visit your town’s parks. Driving by a park every day is a very different experience than stopping and sitting down on a bench for a little while. This summer, make a point to go on picnics in your town’s parks. We lived in our community for several years before discovering a renowned sculpture park, and now we always take visitors there to share this amazing place with them.

4. Visit your Visitor Center. Sound strange? It is very possible there are interesting things about your community you haven’t yet discovered. It’s also helpful to know how your town is being branded, and this all happens at the Visitor Center.

5. Attend a festival or event. A local celebration is the perfect way take to the pulse of a community. Every town is different and often a festival is where you can identify the uniqueness.

Once you start looking at your town through new eyes, you’ll recognize that you live in a delightfully interesting place, thereby enabling you to become an advocate for your town. When citizens feel proud of their community it leaks into their speech and actions, and speaking with optimism about your town does have a positive impact on your town’s economy.

“The word on the street” has more sway than ever before because the Internet and social media have made “the street” a lot bigger. How you feel about your community does matter and people are listening.

Become an advocate for your town today, and become part of a thriving community.  


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Celebrate Colorado Buy Local Week with FREE t-shirts from LoyalTee & HeidiTown

It’s Buy Local Week here in Colorado, and around the country. There are so many reasons why it’s good to buy local, and according to, there are five main reasons.

1. Environment By buying things closer to home you are cutting down on fossil fuel use, reducing your carbon impact AND saving money!

2. Local Economy Local businesses buy more often from other local businesses, so the money you spend is retained in the community in a more concentrated fashion.

3. Local Flavor The experience at a local establishment is unique – providing the local flavor of the area.

4. Community Care Local entrepreneurs are more connected to our community, because they live here, too! They are more likely to get involved in community efforts and activities.

5. Voicing Your Opinion By buying locally you are saying, “Hey, I like this business and the neighborhood wouldn’t be the same without it.”

So without further ado, to celebrate Buy Local Week here on HeidiTown, I’ve joined forces with a local Colorado company, LoyalTee, a Denver-based t-shirt company. LoyalTee is a collection of shirts featuring local landmarks, like Johnson’s Corner, Stadium Inn, and Duranglers Fly Fishing, to name a few.

Johnsons Corner t-shirt

All LoyalTee shirts are made in the USA, and a percentage of all sales goes to the business feature on the shirt. I absolutely love this company and their concept, so I was very happy when they decided to be a part of a HeidiTown contest.

In addition to getting a $23 gift certificate and free shipping to LoyalTee, the lucky winner of this contest will also get a HeidiTown t-shirt!

HeidiTown t-shirt on blue

Just leave me a comment  telling me your favorite Colorado landmark and you’ll be entered. As usually, I will pick the winner (at random) on Friday afternoon, Dec. 2, 2011, at approximately 3 p.m.

It’s hard for me to pick just one favorite Colorado landmark, but today I think I’ll go with the Bucksnort Saloon.   I love that the Bucksnort is located up a long dirt road. I love their un-level floors, and I especially love their forest fire burger with jalapenos and cream cheese.

Good luck!

~ Contest Closed ~

“Native” exploring what it means to be a Coloradan

Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer

Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer

It is theater season folks, and you don’t have to go far because there’s lots of good theater happening right here in Northern Colorado. This past weekend I saw “Native,” in its first week at Nonesuch Theater in Fort Collins. Haven’t been there? Nonesuch is located at 216 Pine Street, just off College Avenue between Walnut and Jefferson.

It was my first trip to Nonesuch, and this 49-seat theater is a real gem. The small lobby has a concession stand serving snacks, beer and wine. Three arches lead into the theater where the seating is arranged on an incline so there’s not a bad seat in the house.

I am a true fan of small theaters. Live theater is naturally intimate, and to watch it in a small theater adds to the overall atmosphere and makes me truly feel a part of the show.

In dialogue and song, “Native” comically explores what it means to be a Coloradoan. I attended the play with three girlfriends. Two of our group members are natives of Colorado, and two of us are transplants from the West Coast. After ordering snacks and glasses of wine, we found seats and settled in for the show.

The play was written by Nick Turner and Troy Schuh, neither are Colorado natives, but both have a good sense of humor. Turner is CEO of the Candlelight Dinner Theater in Johnstown and owner of Nonesuch. His wife, Gina Shuh-Turner is one of the stars of “Native.” The other three cast members are Mark Johnson, Camilla Johnson and Shane Curtiss Miller.

The play is a series of individual sketches performed by the four actors. Most of the sketches poke fun at Colorado stereotypes, those we embrace and those we dispute. There are sketches about Bronco obsession, our love/hate relationship with the great outdoors, the differences between natives and non-native, our predisposition to run red lights and so on and so forth. And of course, there’s mention of Rocky Mountain Oysters.

There were lots of laughs and nodding of heads throughout the play. Not every sketch was a homerun, but much of the script resonated with the audience. I had several favorite songs, including “What’s the Matter with Greeley” and a melody dedicated to John Elway that brought me to tears.

Before the play started, Nick Turner had informed the audience they were still rewriting some parts of the script and were seeking audience feedback (because the play was still officially in “preview” week, tickets were discounted).

After “Native” I had the chance to talk to the writers and actors and shared with them some of our group’s thoughts on the play. It was fun to be able to comment, especially on a play of this nature, being based on such a subjective topic. I’m not sure if they will implement any of our ideas, which included adding more difficult trivia to the “Are you Smarter than a Colorado Native” sketch, but it was still fun to chat with them.

“Native” is a great play to see with a group of friends or family, although the subject matter will probably go right over the heads of most children. For more information or to purchase tickets visit

HeidiTown Tips:

The Nonesuch is running a special deal with Rustic Oven, which includes a ticket to the show and dinner for $29.95 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets at Nonesuch are normally $20 to $29.50.

Don’t underestimate the fun of giving gift cards for live theater as Christmas presents. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, especially if you get to tag along to the play.

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