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Stadick feted as Tourism Person of Year

Michelle Gartner (left) and Terry Sveine (right) present Lois Stadick (center) with the 2019 Tourism Person of the Year award. Sveine nominated Stadick for 10 years as New Ulm’s main face of tourism and development. Sveine said “Lois Stadick is a giant in New Ulm’s tourism world and deserves to be acknowledged as such.” Staff photo by Clay Schuldt

NEW ULM — The New Ulm Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted the first annual tourism mixer at the New Ulm Best Western Plus, Monday.

The mixer was a networking event for people in the industry and was a chance for people to give an update for their group’s work.

The 2019 Tourism Person of the Year was announced at the end of the meeting. Lois Stadick was honored this year. Stadick received the nomination from Terry Sveine.

In the nomination, Sveine said Stadick deserved the award for enormous presence in New Ulm’s tourism world. For ten years, she was the city’s main face of tourism development and promotion as she worked at the Chamber of Commerce. She served in the chamber from 1990 to 1999. Stadick became the first tourism coordinator in 1993. She developed and coordinated the greeter program, which has volunteers work in the visitor center. She created the Gingerbread Tour and expanded on it with the Nutcracker Tour. Sveine said she was responsible for developing many of the programs that are still used by her successors. Her tourism work continued outside of the chamber. She served on the committee to form the New Ulm Historical Preservation Commission, the German Park Restoration Committee. From 2000 to 2006 Stadick was the director of the John Lind Home, and she served on the Convention and Visitor Bureau Board of Directors from 2002 to 2005.

Stadick said she was honored to receive the award. She has been out of the tourism game for 10 years. She said tourism was her passion and after attending the tourism mixer, found that passion renewed.

“New Ulm is a great town, and it is easy to sell,” Stadick said. “There is so much to offer. We have attractions other towns would die for.”

A New Ulm native, she said New Ulm’s people were the best. She credited her award to the great people she had worked with over the years.

The tourism mixer kicks off the busy tourism season in New Ulm and takes place a week before National Travel and Tourism Week, which is May 5 through May 11. Attendees were able to share brief updates on tourism activities for the year.

Tom Furth began with updates on HermannFest. The annual celebration on Saturday, September 7, will continue as previous years with music around the monument in the morning and Thunder in the Valley in the evening followed by music and fireworks.

Furth also gave an update on Bavarian Blast. Mollie B, Alpensterne, Austrian Express and the Concord Singers would return. The evening entertainment would include Heide and The Good Ole Boys, Transit Authority, Rumors & Dreams, Wild Angels, a Neil Diamond cover band, Church of Cash, Big Top Radio and a Tom Petty Tribute Band.

At Flandrau State Park, the Beach House will receive a new roof this year. A new pollinator plot is under development. A few walking trail segments were lost in the flood and are being repaired. Camping reservation are in high demand.

The Hermann Monument will open to visitors the first weekend in May. The interpretive center beneath the monument is still closed but the displays are up at the New Ulm library.

The Brown County Historical Society still has its award winning exhibits on the Dakota-US War and WWI on display. The WWI exhibit will be replaced by a display on Prohibition later this year.

On behalf of Schell’s, Jodi Marti said the brewery tours will be offered daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The big tourist draws are still Bockfest and Oktoberfest. The Starkeller Brewery continues to expand its offerings with different events. Thursday night trivia is a big hit.

Rod Karnitz spoke about the success of Air BnB Rentals. Karnitz has rented out two beds for the last three years and has seen continuous business. Recently Air BnB has begun collecting sales tax which benefits the city through lodging tax.

Paul Warshauer is hosting murder mystery events through “Murders 4 Fun.” He has written hundreds of original mystery events and several have been hosted in the Brown County area. The business can be hired for any event or convention.

The Pinball Place was opened by John Vorwerk last year. The arcade is open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Vorwerk owns over 100 pinball machines and rotates through the machines. At all times the main floor has 24 machines. According to the registry The Pinball Place draws half its visitors from outside New Ulm.

State Street Theater has continual programs planned through the year. In June the theater will host a 50th Anniversary of Woodstock Tribute Show. In July a production of “Beauty and the Beast” will be performed. In October a special screening will be held of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. In November they will begin Christmas programing including “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

In retail, MRCI Bargain Thrift Store continues to be a draw for tourists. Carol Guggisberg said tourists stop at the thrift store to pick up odds and ends they forgot at home. Guggisberg said the store can always use more volunteers.

Tourism plays an important role in the economy of New Ulm. According to the 2019 Tourism and Minnesota’s Economy Fact Sheet published by Explore Minnesota (using 2017 data), travel and tourism in Minnesota generates $15.3 billion in gross sales and $996 million in state sales tax. In Brown County, travel and tourism generates $41,444,501 in gross sales, $2,780,948 in sales tax, and employs 1,163 people.

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