Why Destination America Sent The Wallflowers

The Wallflowers have played concerts in practically every major city in America, but chances are they don’t get to Prescott, Arizona very often. Thanks to efforts by cable network Destination America, they will.

The band is part of a two-day effort by Destination America to bring Fourth of July festivities to deserving small towns. The network has teamed up with Gannett’s USA Weekend to identify deserving American hamlets that can really use a happy occasion.

The result: “Red White & You,” a contest that solicits entries from citizens about why their towns deserve the fanfare.
As PBS and NBC ready their annual Fourth of July efforts featuring fireworks and music,the small cable network owned by Discovery Communications hopes to add its own homespun event into the mix.

Prescott, still recovering from wildfires that claimed the lives of 19 firefighters, was seen as a place that could use something to bolster residents’ spirits, said Marc Etkind, general manager of Destination America, in an interview. The network will also hold a party in Hamtramck, Michigan, a town that has not had a Fourth of July celebration in 30 years thanks to an ailing economy. “

“It’s bigger than a block party” said Etkind. “We wanted something that would bring the whole community together.” On the menu for Prescott:   deep-fried peanut butter pops, deep-fried coffee, and two kinds of deep-fried butter, courtesy of Abel Gonzales, star of the network’s “Deep Fried Masters” series.

 

Destination America and USA Weekend received about 2,500 entries in the contest, which started in the Spring, said Etkind. Five runner-up towns were also awarded an Independence Day celebration: Columbus, Ga.; Charleston, W.V.; Aiken, S.C.; Ellwood City, Pa; and Toledo, Ohio. An online poll for a People’s Choice winner, which took place at DestinationAmerica.com, resulted in three winners, with Delmont, S.D.; Gloucester, Mass.; and Hackleburg, Ala., coming out on top, each receiving $4,000 toward their local Parks and Recreation Department.

The network is considering ways to broaden the celebration to its programming lineup, said Etkind, with several ideas on the table for next year.

Just as the contest has a way of bringing diverse communities together, it is also luring advertisers from different area. Both Ball Park, the maker of hot dogs, and Nexium24HR, the heartburn medication are sponsors of the event.

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