|VISIT FLORIDA Organizes “Go Orange” Challenge|
Today marks the middle of the annual National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week and staff at Florida’s Official Welcome Centers (managed by VISIT FLORIDA) have thrown down the gauntlet on their challenge to other southern states competing for the “Go Orange” crown.
As a way to bring heightened awareness to Welcome Center visitors about the importance of road construction work zone safety issues – and as a way to motivate our Welcome Center staff to go all out for this year’s event – VISIT FLORIDA’s Visitor Services staff issued a challenge to our counterparts in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi to see who could do the best job of staging their center and hosting demonstrations tied to the campaign’s “Go Orange” theme. During the week-long campaign, fifty-five welcome centers throughout the six states have banded together to share the important reminder for motorists to drive carefully in work zones.
The staff at Florida’s Welcome Centers, located on I-10, I-75, I-95 and U.S. 231, worked diligently last weekend to be ready for the start of the campaign this past Monday – and I’m proud to say they’ve all done an incredible job. In addition to plastering the welcome center lobbies with orange signage and wearing orange vests, hats and t-shirts, staff organized activities ranging from actual wrecked car displays to crash test dummies to memorials for road construction workers lost in the line of duty.
The staff members have been telling me that drivers coming into Florida’s Welcome Centers this week are blown away by the bright orange lobby displays and outdoor demonstrations they’ve seen. One visitor commented, “This is fabulous! I’m guilty of not slowing down in a work zone, but this will make me remember.”
Staff are also reporting that visitors are saying they saw the same type of displays at welcome centers in the other states they’ve driven through this week. Knowing that most of Florida’s Welcome Center visitors have passed through other southern states on their way to us, was exactly the reason we established this challenge – in the hope of giving drivers multiple opportunities to reinforce the important safety message the campaign was designed to drive home.
To make the challenge even more fun, we asked each participating state to donate an item representing their history to be awarded to the challenge winner. For instance, Florida has given a case of oranges; Virginia a case of peanuts; and Georgia a Jimmy Carter bobblehead doll and a case of peaches. A third-party has been asked to select the winning state in a few weeks after reviewing photos and videos of the displays and media coverage garnered during the week-long campaign, so I’ll be sure to let you all know how Florida fairs. In the meantime, stop by one of our Welcome Centers and see the decorations first hand – but don’t forget to slow down in any work zones on your way!
Vice President, Visitor Services