2012-07-05 / Community

MIplace contest gains popularity

LANSING – Hundreds of residents across Michigan are answering a simple question – Why do you choose to call Michigan home? – and the responses are confirming our reputation as a state that works hard and plays hard by enjoying some of Michigan’s more than 4,000 annual festivals, fairs and other popular events.

Nearly 500 residents of more than 45 Great Lakes State communities have already become Facebook fans of the MIplace Sweepstakes, a promotion launched that encourages the citizens of Michigan to tell the world at facebook.com/MIplace2012 why we choose Michigan as our place to live, work, play and share the dream of homeownership.

The MIplace Sweepstakes continues through Labor Day and is sponsored by Pure Michigan, Art Van Furniture, the Michigan Association of Realtors and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Many of the early testimonials tout Michigan’s most iconic places and attractions, such as Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and our numerous lakeshore vistas. Others laud less heralded but still cherished activities such as drinking Michigan’s self-proclaimed best chocolate milk at the Calder Dairy in Carleton or watching summer movies at the Cherry Bowl Drivein Theatre in Honor.

But the most consistent testimonials submitted so far highlight the uniquely Michigan pleasure of attending fairs and festivals that celebrate our state’s fruit, cheese, beer, wine, music, the arts, holidays, seasons, cultures, industries, hobbies, geography and history. Examples range from the Upper Peninsula’s Humongous Fungus Festival in Crystal Falls to the Mushroom Festival in Mesick to the FishFly Festival in New Baltimore, among many others.

The events spur local pride but also provide a boost to local economies. In 2011, about 35 million people attended Michigan festivals and generated at least $700 million in economic activity, according to the Michigan Festival and Event Association.

“We’re delighted that so many people are celebrating Michigan’s great places, great festivals and great traditions,” said Joe Borgstrom, MSHDA’s director of downtown and community services. “We’re encouraging fans of every great community and festival in Michigan to provide written or video testimonials touting the places or events they love.”

All MIplace Sweepstakes entrants will automatically receive a $50 Art Van gift card (good with any purchase of at least $499). The grand prize is a $3,000 Art Van shopping spree. Michigan residents can enter the MIplace Sweepstakes by submitting written or video testimonials at facebook.com/MIplace2012 through Sept. 3.

The winner will be announced after Sept. 4.

MSHDA, MAR, Art Van, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan Municipal League and the Small Business Association of Michigan are among the organizations helping neighborhoods, cities, regions and downtowns promote “place” as a way to spur economic development and restore Michigan to prosperity.

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