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Rugby Chamber and CVB gear up for busy summer season

By Sue Sitter - | May 15, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT A tourist strolls through the garden area near Rugby’s Northern Lights Tower. The garden will soon be abloom with several varieties of flowers.

The Rugby Convention and Visitors Bureau is gearing up for a busy tourist season according to Executive Director Laurie Odden.

Odden shared information gleaned from a CVB meeting May 6, where board members learned of new ways for visitors to connect with Rugby and all its offerings.

“The CVB has been quite busy,” Odden said. “One thing I’m pretty excited about is we have new brochures out,” she added, noting she and other volunteers had been busy distributing the brochures to highway rest areas throughout North Dakota.

“We’re putting them around town in the hotels and other places in the community so people can know what Rugby has to offer,” Odden added.

“It’s a trifold brochure, so things can be inserted into the middle of it if there are things going on,” Odden noted, unfolding a three-sided brochure featuring colorful photos of Rugby’s Geographical Center Monument and more. “So, right now, we included the lineup for Music in the Park for the Lions Club,” Odden said.

“One nice thing we added in the brochure this year that I’m excited about is a QR code,” Odden noted.

Odden said the CVB had the code, which looks like a square with patterns on it, printed on the brochures “so that you can just take your smart phone and just scan that and it brings you automatically to the Chamber and CVB’s website. On that you can see our businesses and see the events and things going on.”

“A man at our meeting today took his phone and scanned the code and, whoop, there he was, right on our website,” Odden added with a smile.

To maintain Rugby’s Geographical Center Monument and restore the Northern Lights Tower to working order, the bureau has been conducting a 50/50 raffle since last year, Odden said.

“To date, we have raised today for both of them $5,833,” Odden said. “Our fund is called ‘Save the Monuments’ and it’s to raise funds for both of them. It would be nice to raise $20,000 if we could,” Odden added with another smile.

“Also, this month we have some hanging planters that will be showing up around Rugby,” Odden added. “We’ve purchased 10 of them and we’re working with Gary at the Rugby Greenhouse, who planted them. We’re working with Daunne (Heilman) at I Design and Vince Mattern at Rugby Welding. Vince is making the brackets that the planters will hang on.”

“We’re just figuring out the logistics of how we’ll get those watered,” Odden added. “I have a volunteer, Steve Dockter, who’s volunteered to help with watering those and maintaining those.”

Odden said volunteers Angie Busch, Diane Dufner and Ilen Moen have returned to their work in the CVB’s information kiosk and garden near the Northern Lights Tower. Odden said she would always welcome even more volunteers.

“The water (for the flower garden) got turned on by the city today. We’ve just got a lot going on. I tell my board, ‘Please come to my meetings because we have a lot of updates,” Odden said.

“Another thing I’m excited about is the CVB and Chamber have partnered with the Bottineau Chamber of Commerce and CVB and the International Peace Garden to take part in the social influencer program with the North Dakota Department of Tourism,” Odden said.

The three communities would “bring two social influencers to Rugby, Bottineau and the Peace Garden and make a date for them so they’ll spend a day promoting our community, spend a day in Bottineau promoting their community and then they’ll go to the Peace Garden,” Odden explained.

“So, we’re hoping to have them here in July or August and get us all out there on the worldwide web with all this Instagram and social media stuff,” Odden said, adding, “That’s pretty exciting for us to know they’re going to come here.”

“My task will be to find things for them to do for their day in Rugby,” Odden said. “They’re going to see the museum. We’re hoping to get them here on a Wednesday so they can see Music in the Park and take a couple of tours around town and get them some meals at some of our awesome restaurants we have in town and show them around our town.”

Odden said more work in store for the CVB and Chamber includes updating the organizations’ website. “We’ve found someone who will redesign that and get us up and running and hopefully in four to six weeks it will be finished, “ Odden said. “Rugbynorthdakota.com is where you can find that.”

Odden added she’s been busy with “the Chamber side,” which is the other half of her job.

“We’re sponsoring a Grow With Google Workshop,” Odden said of the Chamber of Commerce.

“If you’re a Chamber member, it’s free. If you’re a non-Chamber member, it’s $20,” Odden said. She said information at the workshop would include “everything about google you need to grow your business. They’re free resources you can use.”

The online workshop will take place at 10 a.m. May 18.

“A couple of other ‘save the dates’ we have are the Pierce County Fair, that’s June 24-27; we have Music in the Park coming up; we have our Fourth of July parade coming and we’ve also set Crazy Days for July 15,” Odden said, scrolling through a calendar packed with events. “You hate to plan so far ahead but in our world, you kind of have to do that,” Odden added with a laugh.

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