GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Fruita's new I-70 billboard near exit 19 is finally up! Featuring a mountain bike scene from local professional photographer Anne Keller, it aims to draw folks off the road and into Fruita businesses and trails.
"We've done various concepts," City of Fruita staffer Odette Phelps said, also noting that the billboard is replaced every three years. "We want to showcase everything Fruita has to offer for outdoor enthusiasts."
According to Keller, who co-owns a well-known Fruita restaurant, The Hot Tomato Cafe and Pizzeria, the image on the new billboard first ran in Bike Magazine this past January. She added that it's a simple image, perfect for "a quick glance when you're going 80 miles an hour down the highway."
The new billboard arrives just in time for peak mountain biking season, too. Phelps said Fruita's busiest months for mountain bikers is April and September, with other busy times being May, October and November.
"I think we're going to have a good year," said City of Fruita Tourism Board Chairwoman Sally D'Agostino. "It seems very positive. You can always tell spring in Fruita from all the mountain bikers in town."
A new billboard is just one component to Fruita's tourism strategy, however. Its tourism board additionally supports races and cultural events, plus it aims to keep its Internet presence fresh.
"We're working on doing a booking tool for our lodging establishments" at GoFruita.com, Phelps said.
"We just tackle projects one at a time," she added. "The billboard and the booking tool are our major projects in the first quarter."
To fund its marketing strategy and support local events, Phelps noted that Fruita relies on a lodging tax.
"Our advertising budget for marketing is $61,000 year to year," she said. "We have other monies in there to help sponsor festivals, like Fruita Fat Tire, Dino Days, Fruita Fall Festival, farmers markets, and the Thursday night concert series." Fruita's special events budget comes in at around $20,000.
To follow Fruita tourism on Facebook, visit www.facebook/FruitaColorado. Visit www.gofruita.com for more information.