For the 25th year in a row, Missoula shined a spotlight on our kids. They could not have shone brighter.
The annual children’s theatre production offered two displays of youthful excellence on Saturday in front of two packed crowds. Kudos to the community for showing up. Our support is important.
It was a Peter Pan storyline this year and the excellence was expected to fly. We knew the kindergartners would bring full-throttle adorability and the older kids would wow us with their acting chops. Excellence though, isn’t dulled by expectations. It’s never unearned either. Those kids rehearsed up a sweat during their week-long preparation.
They fought for their roles on Monday, mastered them by Saturday, and knocked our socks off from curtain to curtain. Singing, dancing and acting are hard things to do separately, let alone all at once, and it was inspiring to see them overcome the pressure of our gaze. We were all watching and young minds living in small towns tend to overestimate an embarrassment’s duration. I hope they remembered to have fun while delighting us.
Us adults have our own rehearsal coming up. Let’s hope we’re as prepared as our kids were.
For the 31st year in a row, grey whales will shine a spotlight on our Coast. Roughly 20,000 gorgeous Eschrichtius Robustus—a scientific name far too luxurious to leave out—are swimming past our shores on their way to the Berring Sea. It’s a 13,000-kilometre journey from Mexico and we’re blessed that they brave it every year.
Their annual migration stimulates an important subsequent one. Thousands of excited tourists bring their credit cards to town to watch our robust whales swim past. It’s a two-week summer season in March and a solid rehearsal for the big show; an elixir for any excuse you might use for being unprepared in June.
Our unique little shops will push their adorability full-throttle and our resorts will prep their hospitality chops to knock their guests socks off between summer’s opening and closing curtains.
The migration is our opportunity to hone our excellence before the sunny season sets in. That excellence is expected. Our Destination Marketing Organizations pitch a big game and it’s our responsibility to deliver.
Excellence is never unearned and we’ll festival up a sweat this month to achieve it. We’ll also taste the pressure of our visitors’ gaze. Tourist towns like ours tend to overestimate the impact of embarrassing TripAdvisor reviews. Please, remember to have fun.
Ready your welcome mats, harness your good-naturedness, assess your staff, gauge your preparation, but remember, the wonders they’re coming to cheer exist in the paradise we live in. I encourage you to cheer along. Growing accustomed to this paradise is a nonsensical reason to not participate in its excellence.
The biggest party on the Island is coming to our doorstep. Get excited. The festival isn’t a them-not-us situation. Hosting it doesn’t mean we can’t play too. Whales are awesome and the events our festival organizers invite us to each year are as excellent as you’d expect.
Some of us are shying away from it though and I’m guessing that’s because we’ve got tourists to fear.
Terror is the prime suspect behind 86 per cent of you saying you weren’t excited about the whale festival in this paper’s recent, and completely unscientific, poll.
I get that you’re hesitant to share the sandbox with strangers and some bad apples definitely and harshly soured our chakras last year.
We watched a clueless dude hand a rice-cake to a bear and another pour gasoline in Kennedy Lake.
You’re right to be cautious about the incoming tourist-flow, but how about finding some middle-ground around cautiously optimistic?
Tourism Tofino has crafted a visitor etiquette guide and is assuring us they’ll put it in front of our guests somehow. Both towns have puffed up their bylaw patrols. Let’s give 2017 a chance to be the season we all get along by letting Whale Fest be the first brick in our road to the sunny side of things. Lower your fears and join their cheers. It’s our paradise their celebrating.