Thursday, June 30, 2011

A mid-week weekend

By Susan Gartner

The Rand McNally/USA Today Best of the Road Rally 2011 put Yellow Springs on the map, literally, when the town threw in its felted hat to compete for the category of "Most Fun Town."

On June 23, 2011, five two-person teams set out from New York in brand new Saabs to visit 30 Best Small Towns of America and determine Most Patriotic, Best for Food, Most Beautiful, Friendliest and Most Fun.

On Tuesday, June 28, 2011, villagers came together and with the coordination efforts of the YS Chamber of Commerce, put on a weekend fling in the middle of the week to welcome contest judges Juliana and Joan Broste. The mother-daughter team from Littleton, Colo., landed in town Monday night complete with RV van and staff, camera crew, handlers and Rand McNally hosts. From Tuesday morning to Wednesday afternoon, the dynamic duo was treated to an eye-popping array of all that YS has to offer. Scheduled and unscheduled events included lunch at The Winds and dinner at Peach's Grill, visits to WYSO, Young's Dairy, MTFR Fire Station, Glen Helen Raptor Center, Miami Valley Pottery and Springs Gallery, a Public Art Tour, the opportunity to yarnbomb, a ride on the Corner Cone cart, an interview with Dave Chappelle, listening to local bands Wheels and The UnderCovered and dancing with Egyptian Breeze Belly Dancers at the Art Park on Tuesday night.

Not only were Juliana and Joan a pleasure to be with but their entire entourage was personable, accommodating, and jumped into the fun. Best of the Road hosts Amanda Pflugrad and Gary Hurt, along with their driver, Bob, spent time with Jafagirls Corrine Bayraktaroglu and Nancy Mellon at a table of Flower Power participants at Brother Bear's Coffeehouse to help yarnbomb the town.

On Tuesday afternoon, a group of sidewalk artists got together to decorate the sidewalks of Dayton and Corry Streets in preparation for the Surprise Tuesday Fling at Art Park Tuesday evening.

Thanks to all, in front and behind-the-scenes, who contributed their time and talents to show off our town and give "Most Fun Town" contenders Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Santa Claus, Ind.; Glenwood Springs, Colo.; Park City, Utah; and Vacaville, Calif. a run for their money.

The winning towns will be announced July 21 at the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Annual Convention in New Orleans. Top towns will be highlighted on and in the 2013 Rand McNally Road Atlas, as well as on USA TODAY’s Travel site.

The three-week cross-country adventure can be followed on To follow Juliana and Joan, go to their blog at or visit their Facebook Page TravelingJules and TravelingJoan. To see all the fabulous photos, be sure and check out the YS Chamber Facebook page: Yellow Springs, OH. I guarantee you'll be exhausted just looking at all the things Jules and Joan did while they were here.

Here's a link to the video that the Rand McNally RV crew put together, enjoy!

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