From Port Clinton, Ohio, Kenn writes: A few years ago I was the keynote speaker at the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival in Homer, Alaska. It was in May, before the rush of tourists that flock to Homer in summer but at the peak of the shorebird migration. The crowd at the festival was getting an eyeful of huge numbers of birds, in addition to educational programs, the spectacular scenery of the surroundings, and the hospitality of the locals. In the spirit of America's last frontier, that was the first time I recall giving a keynote talk wearing jeans, sweatshirt, and hiking boots! But another thing that struck me about the festival was that the mayor of Homer recognized the value of having all these visiting birders in town. The mayor came to my keynote talk, said a few words of welcome to the crowd, and he even came out birding with us the next day.
I concluded, right then and there, that it's a good thing if you can get the mayor to attend your special events.
Tonight our band rocked the walls at Mango Mama's, the big party hall at the Kokomo Bay Restaurant here in Port Clinton. A good crowd braved the cold to come out and hear us, which was a doubly good thing because this gig was a fund-raiser for the Salvation Army. A contingent from the fire department showed up, and fire chief Kent Johnson got up and played guitar with us on a couple of songs. And the dynamic mayor of Port Clinton, Debbie Hymore-Tester, was there for the entire evening -- mingling with the crowd, supporting the cause, moving on the dance floor. Her Honor The Mayor even got on stage with us and sang lead on a couple of songs, rocking out in duets with Kim. After the show was over, of course, Kim and I spent some time talking with the mayor and her husband about the importance of birding to the local economy. Port Clinton is catching on to the fact that thousands of birders come here in spring and fall, but we've been able to draw attention to that in a completely unexpected way through this musical connection.