That said, my last post was an ode to a sweet little town in southern Illinois, Olney. We drove through a number of little towns on this trip, trying to avoid interstates (they're boring, and didn't always go where we wanted to go). And some of them have been talking to marketers.
We've all been there; you're driving into one of those tiny, one-block-long, one traffic light villages in the middle of nowhere, and on the side of the road, there's a sign welcoming you to "Happyville (pop. 72): Home of the World's Largest Buckwheat Pancake!** As we drove, we started to collect these mottoes, because, really, some of them are just too funny to not write down. In addition to the aforementioned "Home of the White Squirrel" in Olney, there's Albion, Illinois, "Chowder Capital of the World."*** Isn't that exciting? Or Indiana, Pennsylvania (yes, that's the name of the town), "Christmas Tree Capital of the World." Even Iredell County, North Carolina, has a rather jazzy one: "Crossroads for the Future." Not as thrilling as giant breakfasts or soup, but still rather inspiring.
What should be avoided is the dull slogan, such as Richmond, Indiana's "An All-American City." Booooring. Or the less-than-optimistic - "Bicknell, Indiana: A Work in Progress," which, unfortunately, brings to mind a cheerful town council chorusing, "We're not as crappy as we used to be!" Probably not what they had in mind.
I'm aware that these aren't the funniest or oddest town mottoes in the nation, just the ones we ran into on our trip. A quick Google search reveals that we have yet to visit the Bedding Plant Capital of Connecticut**** (Cheshire), or Sparkle City† (Spartanburg, SC), or Home of the Catfish Stomp†† (Elgin, SC), or the Clogging Capital of the World (Maggie Valley, NC), or...
Honey, get the keys! We need another road trip!
* And the reason we know that is because it turns out that vegetable peelers are perfectly capable of cutting through human flesh^. I am now missing just a bit of my fingertip. If I seem grouchier than usual, it's not because I'm seriously hurt (I'm certainly not), it's just that it hurts like a $%@^*&.
^ Which, really, makes sense. I am significantly softer than a butternut squash.
** You think I'm kidding, don't you? The town in upstate New York where we stayed this summer had this sign painted on a store on Main Street.
*** OK, we all know I'm a New Englander, so when I hear "chowder," I do tend to think of something fish- or shellfish-based. I sincerely hope that Albion is referring to corn chowder or something like that, because they are a long way from any significant body of water.
**** I'm not entirely sure what that means.
† Actually, we have visited that one. But I live here, and I don't know what that means.
†† Not going to think about that one.