EXTREMELY COOL FOR A HOT PLACE!
Yuma was just named one of The World's 22 Most Extreme Places by Fodors.com. As writer Sunny Fitzgerald says on the Fodor's site, "These places are so extra. If you’re usually doing the most, but now you’re stuck inside, let’s take a little trip—safely, from your screen—around the world and stop by some of the most extreme places on the planet. You don’t have to pack a thing or even bother putting on pants! I can’t promise that knowing any of the little tidbits below will win you any friends. But you never know when this trivia might come in handy—maybe during a virtual happy hour tonight or your future Jeopardy audition?" --Thanks for the shout out for Yuma, Sunny and Fodor's!
BREAKING NEWS FROM GYEDC
Late Thursday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives passed additional funding for the CARES Act and it next goes to President Trump for his signature on the bill. The Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation sent out an email late Thursday afternoon with links for Yuma businesses to act quickly. Their email said: "It is imperative we support as many local small businesses as possible in applying for these federal dollars. Securing funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) could mean life or death for thousands of Yuma businesses. It is estimated that only 1 out of 6 eligible Arizona small businesses were approved for the first round of PPP funding. Our goal is to have every organization, business, and elected official throughout the region activated to encourage eligible businesses to take action and apply. We’ve gathered resources to support businesses with the application process and lessons learned from the first wave of funding. The next 72 hours are critical so we ask that you share this information with your distribution lists, go live on social media, and give encouragement to those struggling with the process." Here is the link to their email with the links they assembled for your easy access.
HOW ARE YOU DOING?
by Linda Morgan, Visit Yuma Executive Director
At each of our weekly (Zoom) staff meetings, we start by checking in with each other about how we're doing. The answers have ranged widely as our emotions change week-to-week with each COVID-19 update. We've also taken some of this "downtime" to make calls to members. We're in the process of trying to touch base with each and every member, to ask if there's anything we can do to help. While some of you are frantically busy, trying to keep some money coming in, it's been wonderful to get to talk, you know, actually take a few minutes to catch up, with many of you. It's those moments or breathers in all this craziness that have been really helpful to me, to stay balanced and focused on our mission: to let everyone "out there" know how great of a destination Yuma is. These days of Stay At Home will be behind us not too far in the future, and people will be ready to get on the road for a getaway or vacation. Studies tell us that while travelers are not yet ready to go by air or ship, shorter trips by car will make sense. We're preparing to invite Arizonans and neighbors in states next door to come see what adventures await in Yuma. Visitors may keep away from crowded urban locations for a while, but who can argue that social distancing is a problem here, with all our wide-open desert and waterways, all full of fun, fresh air recreation. Our staff members are working hard (mostly from home) at getting marketing prepared and in place for when it is safe to travel again. We want Yuma to have that Top of Mind Awareness and encourage everyone at home to be inspired and amazed by the videos and photos we share of Yuma. We are all working hard to make sure visitors return, and sooner than later would be great, don't you agree? Here's the good news: the forecast for Yuma says Sunny and Warm for the foreseeable future, so let's let everyone know about it! That good news is sure to cheer us all up!
Visit Yuma's new marketing campaign shows off how sunny (for outdoor adventures) and warm (some of the most friendly people you'll ever meet) we are in Yuma.
WHAT MAKES YUMA SUNNY AND WARM
Stay At Home orders are still in effect for COVID-19, restricting travel, but Visit Yuma is preparing for the days when visitors will again seek out Yuma for recreation and adventures. "We are all dreaming of places we want to go to, and once it's safe to venture out again, we hope that visitors from our region will come to Yuma," said Linda Morgan, Visit Yuma's Executive Director. "By launching a new marketing campaign called Sunny and Warm, we'll tell Yuma's story about how great a destination it is for sunny outdoor adventures and getting to know our warm, welcoming people," she said.
Designated the Sunniest City on Earth by Guinness World Records, it's bound to be a sunny day, with many golf courses and desert, lake and river adventures, as well as open-air markets, shopping and restaurants along Yuma's Historic Main Street. "We take outdoor dining to the next level in Yuma," said Morgan.
"We're really focusing on what a warm greeting you'll get in Yuma because everyone in our hospitality industry is ready to welcome you back. The heart of Yuma is our small businesses which are often family-owned, and serving visitors comes naturally," said Morgan. "Throughout Yuma's history, first the Quechan people and then subsequent Yumans have always had a spirit of generosity and hospitality."
Citing plenty of open air and wide open spaces for social distancing, Morgan said Yuma is the perfect spot to get into the great outdoors. Imperial Sand Dunes, Kofa National Wildlife Reserve, and Picacho State Recreation Area all offer miles of open space. And hiking or biking on area trails have plenty of room for everyone. "As the temperature rises, we have everything you need, too, for loads of fun on the lakes and Colorado River. Boating, jet-skiing, boogie boarding and fishing are all recreation styles that keep some distance from others. Tubing, canoeing and kayaking are many people's idea of a perfect summer day."
"Studies show that people will want to ease into being around other people, so unlike a more densely populated urban environment, Yuma is a natural place to sight-see and have fun with your family on your own terms," said Morgan. Within town, most shopping or dining areas are fairly spread out with ample parking. "We are thinking the first wave of visitors returning are going to be from within Arizona or neighboring states, probably coming by car."
Visit Yuma's Sunny and Warm campaign will be rolled out weekly over the next months, inviting those with an itch to travel to choose Yuma for their getaways or family fun when it's safer to venture out. This week, Visit Yuma is sharing the message that it's important to Stay At Home, but when everyone can move about more freely, Yuma will share a warm welcome with visitors. On Visit Yuma's social media, a slideshow of great Yuma attractions and adventures will inspire travelers to dream about how much fun they can have in Yuma.
Weekly contests (see below) will encourage those at home to recreate famous Yuma attractions with items from around the house and share photos of their creations online, to show off their dance moves, and to show how they're enjoying the great outdoors while safely social distancing. Later in the campaign, look for photo shoots with our members and new videos that shine with the warmth that visitors can expect. "Each week's theme plays off the best of what we have to offer: gorgeous sunshine and warm, friendly people," said Morgan. "Check out our Facebook and Instagram posts to see how deliver on being Sunny and Warm each week!"
COLORFUL THANK YOU'S FOR OUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
Community members chalked up the sidewalks and steps around Yuma Regional Medical Center recently to recognize the efforts of doctors, nurses and other medical staff who have stepped up during the last several weeks with COVID-19.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced that buildings and structures around the state would be lit blue on April 15 as a symbol of support for Arizona’s frontline medical workers and emergency responders battling COVID-19. City Hall in Yuma joined many cities and towns in Arizona in recognizing our community's first responders. #LightAZBlue campaign.
- The Peanut Patch is closing for the season on May 2. Call now to stock up on any of the goodies you'll need this summer.
- Wishing "Mr." and Ms. Betty a happy retirement now that Ms. Betty's shop is closed. Ms. Betty's was an anchor to the 224 S. Main St. shops for many years.
- Mark Croft of Yuma Golf and Country Club shares pro tips for golfers in his blog. Take his advice, then hit the links to improve your game during our great early summer weather.
- Private Music Lessons available at Fretworks Music Center online and in the shop at 1150 S. Castle Dome Ave., Ste A in Yuma. Future and Gift lessons can also be purchased.
- Stimulus check scam alert: the Better Business Bureau wants you to be aware that in times of a calamity that affects everyone, there's more opportunity for scams. The tip off to the rip off, according to their website, is if you're getting calls or emails soliciting you to do something.
- Burgers & Beer want to make dinner for you tonight. They have several specials, as pictured below, on their website and Facebook page.
- Wheezy's Grill and Sportsbar has been keeping us all in burgers and other delicious dishes for carry out, but they've also been helping kids out of school. They are offering bag lunches at no charge for any children. See their Facebook page for more info.
VISIT YUMA PHOTO CHALLENGE
Visit Yuma is challenging the community to recreate their favorite iconic local spot in a fun photo from home. Let’s get creative as a community!
1. reminisce with your family about your favorite places to go in Yuma while you #stayhome.
2. recreate a scene from your favorite spot, from home. You can use anything you have at home to create your scene: toys, people, food, whatever! Snap a pic and share it with us by April 28.
- e-mail entries to firstname.lastname@example.org
- post them in a comment on the challenge thread on Facebook
- post them on Instagram & tag us @visityumaaz
Here’s a couple of suggestions; Yuma Territorial Prison, The Colorado River, Yuma Proving Ground, Ocean to Ocean Bridge, The Camel Farm, MCAS Yuma Air Show
Then, don’t forget to challenge your family, friends & favorite local business. Tag them on social media or give them a call!
Finally, one photo will get major bragging rights. Visit Yuma will turn one photo into a local billboard. The billboard photo will be announced on May 1, 2020.
Here’s a list of the rules:
- The challenge is open to anyone from any location
- You may enter more than one photo
- Visit Yuma owns the rights to all photo entries for promotional purposes.
- The top photos will be chosen by Visit Yuma staff based on overall creativity and portraying a Yuma-specific scene or attraction
- Social Media followers will vote for the billboard photo between the dates of April 28-30, with the winner being announced on May 1, 2020.
DOWNLOAD YUMA ZOOM BACKGROUNDS
Zoom is the place to be these days. Visit Yuma has compiled 10 iconic Yuma backgrounds for you to Zoom with. All you have to do is go to our Dropbox and download. The backgrounds include a spectacular Yuma sunset, a group of AV-8B Harriers from MCAS Yuma, the Ocean to Ocean bridge and more. Special thanks to the very talented Brikelle Janee Photography, Jon Dinsmore (@thefarmerjon on Instagram), LG Photography, Naked Dates, and @tommyyuma928 on Instagram.
IN THE NEWS & ONLINE
The Sunniest City on Earth was where several bloggers came this past winter to see for themselves what Visit Yuma's tours and specialty dinners had to offer.
Unstoppable Stacey (bottom right) went on a Field to Feast Tour, followed by farm-fresh dinner at Sunset on the Ranch. She shared, "Just back from the Field to Feast Yuma excursion, and because this farm tour in Arizona was so enjoyable, I can’t stop talking about it. "
Living a Stout Life came to town to test out local breweries. While in Yuma, they also partook of the new Sunset on the Ranch dinner, complete with date beer tasting. Anna said, "A unique aspect of this dinner was the ability to chat with the farmers. Hosted in part by Sabor Farms and hearing directly from Steve and Peggy Alameda, farmers with over 40 years of experience, was an honor. The passion in their voices and the humor in their stories matched the evening’s ambiance as we learned more about their agricultural upbringing in the San Francisco Bay Area and their quick transition to Arizona."
Hannah Tover (bottom left), whose blog Brave Blonde has over 46,500 followers on Instagram, shared, "It was in the middle of the date groves (which is nice and exclusive) and you walk up to a walkway that is lite with gorgeous lights and welcomed by event hosts. There is a string quartet during the entire night and dinner is held under a gorgeous white tent with candles and fresh flowers. They even send you home with some delicious dates. All of it really makes it a special night. Read more here.
The Traveling Newlyweds (top right) have more than 84,400 followers, and they were big fans of Sunset on the Ranch: "If you plan your trip to Yuma just right, you can make one of the most idyllic (and romantic) culinary experiences in town - Sunset on the Ranch. It begins with a tractor-pulled wagon ride around a farm, which takes guests to a picture-perfect farm-to-table dinner highlighting Yuma produce and a local gourmet chef," they raved. Read more about their Yuma adventures.
When you've got 7 kids and you live on the road full-time in your RV (top left), you're always looking for unique experiences, according to Matt and Tabitha Best. Their blog, Ditching Suburbia, covers their stop off at Martha's Gardens. They couldn't stay for a tour or specialty dinner this time, but they give a big thumbs up to the date shakes at Martha's Gardens.
One recent post from Visit Yuma's Facebook page (see below) drew nearly 1000 shares and more than 80,000 views. "Social Distancing, Yuma-Style" was popular with locals and fans of Yuma all over the world. Several commented how fitting it was to have tacos and lettuce to measure six feet. And yes, we did calculate how many heads of romaine it takes to separate two people by six feet! Graphic created by Paige Lineberry, 3° North Graphic Design & Photography, exclusively for Visit Yuma.