What Do You Get at a Travel and Adventure Show?

 Marketing Travel, adventure
Santa Clara Travel and Adventure Show

Marketing Travel and Adventure Ideas to Vacationers

Nearly fifteen hundred vendors and five hundred travel agencies represented tourist attractions around the world. They marketed events and attractions in their corners of the world at the Santa Clara Travel and Adventure Show on February 11-12, 2017.  Potential tourists from the San Francisco, Santa Clara County area packed into the Convention Center to plan their summer vacations.

Chambers of Commerce and city representatives from across Tulare County meet monthly as the Sequoia Tourism Council. This body proposes ways to promote tourism in Tulare County. Part of this promotion is to attend three travel shows across the state. The first show is in Santa Clara, followed by the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show, completed by the San Diego show.

Marketing Travel, adventure
My left arm is not deformed. I’m holding our 2017 Visitors’ Guide, “Find Your Awe.” Chris Brewer donated the treasured 1892 Atlas of Tulare County on my right.

It was my privilege, along with four other representatives from Tulare County to attend the Santa Clara show. We set up our booth in the California rows ready to greet visitors and pass out free Sequoia Tourism Visitors’ Guides. We urged our neighbors from the north to come to Tulare County.

Marketing Travel, adventureTotal attendance was up two thousand to nearly 20,000 visitors in Santa Clara’s 108,000 square foot Convention Center Exhibit Hall. Before the doors opened crowds lined up encircling the auditorium while the vendors put finishing touches on their booths. Presenters and their representatives wove through the lines passing out admission tickets to their events. The show had broad appeal. Young families, retired couples, and out of country tourist groups waited patiently for the doors to open. Once they did, we were so busy we did not even notice when Rick Steves came and went.

Sequoia Tourism Council Booth

As a new tourism vendor, I learned quickly that the broad appeal of Tulare County is the Sequoia National Park. Working with esteemed colleagues, Eric Coyne, Deputy CAO, Economic Development Film & Tourism and assistant Ally Vander Poel from the Tulare County Resource Management Agency taught me much about the film industry and economic development opportunities in our county.  Kelly Evans, the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park Education Program Director, and Krista Matias, Programs Coordinator for the Sequoia Parks Conservancy shared about park programs available both in and out of the park. Their goal is every fourth grader in the park. Together we handed out Visitors’ Guides and educated attendees who showed an interest in visiting the National Park. As a member of the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce and representative on the Sequoia Tourism Council, I encouraged the streaming thousands to stop long enough to consider visiting the small to medium-sized towns leading up to the park, primarily Visalia, Woodlake, Three Rivers, and Exeter.

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Yosemite Rock Climbing Wall

Our space was packed. There was often a line spilling into the walkway waiting to sign up to win our basket. People could not move through the main hallway.

Sometimes we migrated across the hall next to the Yosemite Rock Wall to hand out our Tourism Guides. The four of us chatted with visitors as fast as our mouths would go.

Marketing Travel, adventure
The Sequoia Tourism Crew

Only four hours from either San Francisco, the northern large population hub of California, or Los Angeles, the southern bubble, Tulare County makes a quiet alternative to the hustle of busy city life. So many attendees told us that the Sequoias were on their bucket list. My personal goal was to add our small artistic and historic communities to their schedules.

My opening catch phrase as I stuck my arm bravely in front of the molasses moving line was, “Want a book?” It was hard to refuse those big trees with the tagline, “Find Your Awe.”

If they took the guide, I asked, “Are you interested in history?”

That question stopped people from their mad rush through the booths. Most of them answered positively. It would be unAmerican to say otherwise.

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Krista’s space

If the visitors liked history, I told them that I had something special for them.

Chris Brewer, from the Book Garden in Exeter not only gave us five beautiful books to give away at each of the three shows but collectible colorful fruit box labels. This artifact from the 1940s or 1950s, perfectly preserved in his museum storage, created conversations with potential tourists.

“Do you know what this is?” I asked.

Many of them guessed it was a can label. Their reply opened the door to briefly discuss small towns and the agricultural communities in Tulare County. Sometimes I threw in a pitch to the students about participating in Nationa History Day, California. I couldn’t help myself.

We all tried to slow down the wave of people long enough for them to sign up for our beautiful basket of products from Tulare County. You can’t see all the products inside. You would have loved to win this basket of goods from Tulare County!

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Donations from Chris Brewer, Marily Reese, Woodlake High School, Valley Business Bank and others crammed this basket chock full of treasures from Tulare County.

The three other women in our group focused more on the “Big Trees, the Crystal Cave, the Dark Sky Festival, and other events at the parks.

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Maria Perez, and her friend Madona.

Two of the 94 press members, Maria Perez and her friend Madonna stopped by our booth. I had met Maria online just the week before. We discussed phoning each other as fellow twitter followers from California. Then, we found out we both had plans to attend the Show. Problem solved.

Over the two-day weekend, February 11-12, 2017, we handed out 1,188 Tourism Guides down from 1,540 in 2016. We collected 230 names on two iPads down from 474 in 2016. (OK we talked too much!)

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Sequoia Tourism booth

Our prize winners, practically screamed with delight when they picked up their winnings. And they should have. The basket contained hundreds of dollars worth of Tulare County goods. There were a plethora of items including books, honey, olive oil, a hoodie sweatshirt, a custom clay teapot, stuffed animals, trinkets, office supplies, and candy.

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“This atlas is all I wanted!”

One young woman won the 1892 edition of the Tulare County Atlas reprinted by Bear Books and donated by Chris Brewer.

She exclaimed, “This is the only think I wanted! I’m so happy! This was the best booth here!”

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She couldn’t believe she won! See the Star Fire Fruit label?

Thank you to our wonderful donors for their generosity.

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Thank you, friends, of Sequoia Tourism Council

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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s Political Genius Rivaled No One’s

The political genius of Abraham Lincoln jumped from the pages of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals for Civil War buffs who devoured the book.

Stephen Spielberg based the epic film,  Lincoln, on the book, Team of Rivals:  The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. A colleague recommended that I read this book as I prepared to visit Civil War Battlefields and museums in 2011. After six years, I can’t help but sing its praises as one of my all-time favorite books!

political genius
Can you name Lincoln’s rivals?

Rivals of the Political Genius

The rivals mentioned were Lincoln’s competitors who wanted the Republican presidential nomination in 1860:  William H. Seward – NY, Salmon P. Chase – OH, and Edward Bates – MO.  Most of the research about this book came from their personal journals and those of their family members who knew and interacted on a personal level with Abraham Lincoln.

A political genius, Lincoln amazed and saddened all the pundits when he won the Republican nomination for President in 1860.  Goodwin maintains that he triumphed, not because of a fluke involving the swing state of Illinois, but because he controlled the nomination process with self-reliance, shrewdness, and canniness.  Lincoln’s greatness showed when he managed opinions that differed from his.  To add to more controversy than just having his party rivals for the nomination to the cabinet, Lincoln included former Democrats:  Gideon Welles, Montgomery Blair, and Edwin M. Stanton.  It was even-tempered Lincoln, who “dispelled his colleague’s anxiety and sustained their spirits with his gift for storytelling and his life-affirming sense of humor.”  (loc.211-214)  All his rivals eventually acknowledged his greatness.  Even the treacherous Salmon P. Chase eventually realized that he’d been outwitted by the comedy-cloaked brilliance of the 16th President of the United States.

political genius

Put Team of Rivals to Use in the Common Core Classroom

Her passion explains this book's excellence.
Her passion explains this book’s excellence.

Goodwin weaves the stories in this volume with such skill that you wonder what is going to happen next even when you know what happens.  It was the most valuable resource in studying for a Civil War tour that I had.  In the hands of language arts and history teachers, it has great use in the Common Core classroom.  The character details will thrill the language arts teachers.  “He lifted his whole foot at once rather than lifting from the toes and then thrust the whole foot down on the ground rather than landing on his heel.”

Unflattering stories told of Mary Todd Lincoln are somewhat softened by Goodwin’s quotes from primary sources. On their first meeting at a party, Lincoln told the well-educated, lively woman, “I want to dance with you in the worst way.”  Mary confided to her cousin, “He most certainly did.”

Lincoln developed unflinchingly loyal friends during his circuit experience as an attorney.  “Lincoln and his fellow lawyers journeyed together throughout the state. They shared rooms and sometimes beds in the dusty village inns and taverns.”Details that came from Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon, turn students into historians in the classroom.


political genius

Through the pages of this book, you come to understand why Lincoln became the unsurpassed successful president he was. There is much more to this book than the movie, even though the movie portrayed a most crucial event during Lincoln’s presidency. If you are a Lincoln fan, you probably already read Team of Rivals. If you aren’t, it’s worth your time.

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How to Use Email Lists and Stay Out Of Jail

Use Email Lists to Promote Your Projects?

That’s random, use email lists. Why? Kirsten Oliphant offered a free course in why and how to use them. I signed up. Here are a few facts about people who use email lists.

  • In 2014 Venture Beat predicted that seventy-five percent of enterprises will be investing in personalized messaging in 2015.
  • Campaign Monitor states that you are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.
  • Email subscribers are 3 times more likely to share your content via social media than visitors from other sources. – QuickSprout That fact impressed me.
  • A message is 5x more likely to be seen in email than via Facebook. – Radicati WOW!

Since I have primarily used blogging as a hobby, I did not feel that I needed a list. Was my face red when I learned that people who email about hobbies have the highest open rate of any other type of email marketing at 28.85%. – Smart Insights

Since I wrote Images of America: Woodlake published by Arcadia Publishing, it created a niche for me in my community. Actually, I became the secretary for the Woodlake Chamber of Commerce when I walked into the bank one day. (Long story) So I began to think I might be able to use an email list. But my real hobby now is BLOGGING! Kirsten uses an email list for her mostly mommy, but other random thoughts blog. Maybe I could use an email list for my blog  Traveling & Blogging Near and Far. Always Write made the perfect blog for this experiment.

use email lists

Does Pay to Use Email Lists?

Kirsten’s name came up as a result of a Writer’s Digest email blast. Her hook appealed to me, but it wasn’t about Kirsten or emailing. Since I am working on Always Write as my author website, the Writer’s Digest offered a course to design a website caught my interest, so I clicked.  Before I signed up to part with $90, I checked out the author’s website.

Her website had several fantastic posts written by different authors, and one of them by Kirsten Oliphant answered some questions we had discussed at California Council for the Social Studies when I was Executive Director. I forwarded the article to my friends there, and  I signed up for Kirsten’s email list. Sorry, Jane. I still love your blog.

use email lists

In the case of Writer’s Digest, it did not pay.

Kirsten offered a free course about starting an email list, so I began with that. Right in the middle of watching her podcast, I clicked off and enrolled for a Mail Chimp account.

MailChimp and other newsletter applications make email blasts legal.

Wait, sending emails without MailChimp is illegal? Whaaaaa?

use email lists
Use Email Lists and Stay Out of Jail!

I Learned How to Stay Out of Jail – Free

Emailing can be illegal. Seriously! I like to keep things legal – and simple.

Until that second, in the course with Kirsten, I did not know that if I wanted to send an email to hundreds of people, I could not do that legally from my Gmail account. Using a service like MailChimp makes email blasts legal because the receiver can opt out of the email. And they have to go through a lengthy automated process to receive it.

I like to keep things legal – and simple. As a blogger and author, I’m going to learn more about using email as well as social media to get the word out about my blogs and possibly about my books and even the non-profit organizations which occupy a lot of my spare time.

What I learned is that using email is another platform for marketing, both now, and later when I have more books under my belt. I may never be the email queen that I was when I worked in education. But if I become that queen again, I will not be illegal!

I have not created a course about how to use email lists. I shared several articles that documented my journey into how to use email lists. I had to pause the hour-long video that comes in Free Lesson #4 to sign up for MailChimp so that I could follow along with the video. While I watched (or listened), I also started this post, so I could take notes as I went along. As it turns out, the course comes with a free download of all the notes. I hope you enjoyed learning along with me.

I’m Marsha Ingrao, a teacher first, blogging at Always Write. Where I use my skills as a researcher, educator, writer and blogger to help YOU make the right decisions about YOUR blogging, writing, and photography.

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Looking Up a Didgeridoo

Cee’s Oddball Challenge

Australian trip #12

Of course, you know what this is. It’s a didgeridoo. In case you have never seen one, this is probably not the first view you would see. So when I call this oddball, I simply mean unique.


All the native Aussie’s told me that out of all the wild animals and birds, the didgeridoo was the most unusual sight we got to see at the Healesville Sanctuary. This was an indigenous Australian Ranger playing a $3,000 didgeridoo.

indigenous didgeridoo player

The sound drew us magnetically to his side. He practiced reciprocal breathing. Air went in his nose and came out his didgeridoo through his mouth. I tried reciprocal breathing without success not even using a didgeridoo.

His foot tapped a beat.

He gathered a crowd of all ages. We watched through several sessions. He could play for several minutes without taking a breathing break.

Then he spoke to using his beautiful accent about the didgeridoo. I struggled to understand and sort out all his words.

For more of Cee’s Oddball Challenge entries click here.

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How to Have Fun with a Little Pysanky

Pysanky Just Sounds Fun

Pysanky panky! (piss sank key) Right? When I signed up to win a class to learn pysanky at the Woodlake High School Foundation Dinner, I had no idea what pysanky were or if I wanted to win one. Woodlake Foundation dinners need dictionaries!

Alice came up behind me and said, “I’m taking this class. Take it with me.”

Looking at the rest of the guest list, I agreed that pysanky sounded like a class I must take! Denise called it “piss ants” because she could not remember how to say it. We signed up in November. Our class was in late January.

“What are we doing?” I asked Sally.

“We’re each bringing a dish.”

“Seriously, Sally! What are we doing?”

“You should make cookies.”

“I’m going to bring that quiche thingy Janet made for Kiwanis. That was so awesome.”


Attention Hobby Bloggers, Pro Bloggers, and Photographers

Before you read the rest of the story, please understand that the business of Always Write is to support hobby bloggers, writers, and photographers. Bloggers blog for many reasons. Some want to build their business. However, most bloggers are hobby bloggers. Some monetize their blogs to make their hobby pay. Ride along with me as I learn.

Teachers, like I am, know that the best way to teach and support is to model what we teach. As a hobby blogger, I blog to promote local events. That is a great way for hobby bloggers to create content, build their audience, and establish local credibility. 

In this post, I highlighted a local event using two photo challenges that fit the content.

Back to Pysanky Before Wine

As often happens with friends my conversation with Sally skittered to other topics. When I got in the car to ride to Pysanky class, I still had no idea what we were going to do. I should have guessed it would be artsy because it was in Three Rivers. But my friend and Pysanky teacher, Helen Bauer, would never do that to me, would she?

Model Pysanky

It turned out she would and did. When she brought out elaborately colored eggs, my heart sank. She was not serious was she? I could not even draw a straight line with a ruler when my hands were sort of steady. And design? I got on an A in arts and crafts for enthusiasm. Who gets an A for enthusiasm?

Beautiful boxes

“Pysanky means ‘to write’ in Ukrainian,” Helen told us.

Write? My ears perked up. I love to write!

Helen had made us all boxes to fit our eggs so they would not break in transit. The boxes were as beautiful as the eggs. She also made us name tags and printed up a handout about the history and symbolism of pysanky and how to repeat the procedure. What a great teacher! I adore Helen anyway, but this took her over the top. No wonder she likes living in artsy Three Rivers.

“The Ukrainians wrote symbols on their eggs, often spiritual ones to bring the family health and good luck.”

I picked two pysanky I particularly liked.

Sarah’s Pysanky

“My daughter did those when she was 10. She gets bored before she finishes.”

My heart sank. Ten-year-old children could do this better than I could. Helen continued. “This is the least expensive craft you will ever do. All you need is a candle, wax, dyes, a stylus, and of course the pysanky or blown egg.

Stylus – a tool for the trade

We Laughed So Much As We Learned Pysanky!

Fortunately, Helen had blown the eggs before we got there, or I might still be sitting at her table with broken and dripping egg shells all over the table and dripping onto the floor. It takes three years for the fluid to evaporate if you do not blow out the egg. I did not know that eggs brought good luck. The Ukrainian farmers believed that the more Easter eggs, the less evil on the earth.  We probably should have made these in early November.

I’ll never be able to do this.

Not Everyone Had Fun at First

Shivon studied the samples like she might try something similar. Linda looked as depressed and lost as I felt as she held on to her coffee cup for dear life. Denise was already waxing away, and Sally started with an egg that already had WHS etched in wax. Finally, even Linda jumped in while I sat in stunned silence.


I got up and went to the kitchen to look at the food. I had brought nuts and candy, but you could not touch peanuts and eggs at the same time. The nuts leave oil on the eggs and ruin the design. Everyone else was almost ready to take their first dip into the dye. I ate nuts and washed my hands.

Denise had dyed “piss ants” before and led the pack.

There Were Other Things to Do Besides Pysanky

Wine drinking did not leave fingerprints. Good excuse to drink wine. I took a sip of wine to calm my shaking fingers. First, Helen told us to put a rubber band on the egg to help you wax a straight line. I knew mine would break, but it did not.

It looks tedious, but Helen made it fun.

Helen showed us how to trace a line in wax around the rubber band on both sides. When I started writing, my wax stylus dried up after about.0000025 cm of writing. I got frustrated until Helen showed me I could dig into the wax with the big end of the stylus like a shovel. It went better for me after that. Once I drew around the rubber band on both sides, I placed the rubber band horizontally across the empty pysanky. I waxed some more. Done! I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally!

pysanlyEverywhere we put the wax on the egg maintain the area under it white. Now I would wax to keep the design yellow. Waxing still frustrated me. My lines often wobbled. The wax wouldn’t go very far. By this time the wine must have soaked into my unlunched pores, and I had fun.

Dying is done.

Pysanky Making Improved with Time

As we watched the wax get deeper, and the dye colors on our eggs get darker, and our conversations flowed. Most of my friends ended dying in black. That seemed appropriate!

Sally finished two eggs in the time I finished one.

I chose red then dark blue with no waxing between applying the colors. The last step we did was to burn off all the wax. Burn and wipe. Burn and wipe. I liked this action. Easy peasy! Sally got bored. She was happy to leave the wax on her egg. I helped burn and wipe one of Sally’s pysanky. Before we packed up our pysankies, Helen sprayed them with Varathane to waterproof the design.


Pysanky Revealed

Linda LaFleur’s pysanky

Shivon Lavely’s pysanky

Denise Akin’s pysanky

Sally Pace’s pysanky

Marsha Ingrao’s pysanky

When the wax came off, the results stunned me. In spite of my squiggly lines, my pysanky looked beautiful. I loved the purple.

My face glowed with pride and happiness. So did everyone else’s face. Alice couldn’t come, and she missed a great day of fun and learning.


You still have time to dye pysankies before Easter. Please share if you love to dye Easter eggs. 

While you are at it, please visit Narami and Cee for more fun fotos. Tell them you know me in the comment section.

Tuesdays of Texture  Cee’s Fun Fotos Looking Down on Things

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