The Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced the Staycation Challenge on Friday. The event is to encourage people to go out and see the sights while still being careful to practice social distancing.
“Obviously, this is devastating several industries and the tourism industry is at the top of that list. And so we’re doing what we can, which is first and foremost, protect our local economy,” said Stephanie Siegel, executive director of the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “But, we also are not forgetting all the fantastic assets that we have in our backyard, and we want to remind people, especially during this social distancing, that there’s all kinds of great things to do in Ashtabula County, and you’re encouraged right now to get a breath of fresh air and go do it. So we made a contest out of it.”
For the first week of the event, those who wish to participate are encouraged to go to covered bridges in the county, take a picture, and post it to social media with the tags #BULA and #staycationchallenge.
“We’ll have different locations every week for the next three, four and five weeks. We’ll see how long this goes,” Siegel said.
Pictures at different covered bridges each count as an entry, Siegel said. It isn’t necessary to leave your car for the picture to count as an entry, and anyone who wishes to participate, but does not want to leave home, can send an email to VisitUs@VisitAshtabulaCounty.com with their contact information to be entered to win.
Ashtabula County has 19 covered bridges, 17 of which are open to vehicle traffic, according to the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Among them are the longest covered bridge in the United States, the Smolen-Gulf Covered Bridge and the shortest covered bridge open to vehicles in the United States, the Liberty Street Covered Bridge.
“And then we’ll give away a really great deluxe prize basket, hopefully as we turn the corner. We’re being cautiously optimistic and hope that happens sooner, rather than later,” Siegel said.
The basket includes an overnight stay package, items from local businesses and goodies from the ACCVB.
“We wanted this to be something that everybody could participate in, that didn’t cost money,” Siegel said. Siegel and the Convention and Visitors Bureau already have several plans for the next several weeks that will highlight nature and the outdoors in Ashtabula County.
“It’s good for us to remember what’s in our back yard and appreciate all the things tourists come to Ashtabula County for and make sure that we, as locals, are enjoying it ourselves,” Siegel said.