By RACHEL BERNSTEIN
The Daily Record of Baltimore
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Frederick finally has its first official visitor from Wyoming for 2011.
Since the Tourism Council of Frederick County opened its new Frederick Visitor Center in April, more than 8,500 tourists have passed through its doors. And in those four months, the visitors came from all over the U.S. — except for Wyoming.
Gillette, Wyo., resident Linda Hawkinson came to the rescue Aug. 11.
“On our 131st day after opening, our luck changed,” Frederick Tourism’s Executive Director John Fieseler said in a statement.
To entice visitors from the Cowboy State, officials from Frederick’s tourism council announced that they would give a prize bag to the first visitor at the new center who could whip out a valid Wyoming driver’s license.
Hawkinson was visiting her sister in Annapolis and made a trip to visit Frederick, said tourism officials. Hawkinson is a fifth-grade teacher in Gillette, the “Energy Capital of the Nation.”
Visitor center officials typically ask questions of each visitor to find out where they come from, said Tourism Council of Frederick County’s operations director, Patsy Ensminger.
Prior to her arrival in Frederick, Hawkinson had not known about the promotion to bring a Wyomingite to the center, Ensminger said.
“She was thoroughly surprised and a good sport,” Ensminger said.
Hawkinson was able to take home the prize bag.
But, alas, no Wyomingites have showed up since, Ensminger said.
Hawkinson could not be reached for comment.
The prize bag included a $20 Downtown Frederick gift card, a coffee mug, a book by local artist Helen L. Smith and a Frederick-emblazoned tote bag.
Wyomingites haven’t snubbed Frederick in the past. In 2010, 17 visitors from the state came to Frederick’s visitor center, and in 2009, 29 had come to town.
It could be because that even though Wyoming is the 10th largest state in the U.S. by area, it’s the least populous, with 563,626 residents in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By comparison, Baltimore City had 620,961 residents in 2010.
The new center is on the site of downtown Frederick’s former Spoke Factory, which dates from the end of the 19th century. The project cost $3.2 million.
Information from: The Daily Record of Baltimore, http://www.mddailyrecord.com
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)