It’s no secret that Mount Airy is officially known as Mayberry, U.S.A. and now thanks to a contest by Rand McNally and USA TODAY, the city may soon have the distinction of being the friendliest town in America.
Within the next two weeks a panel from Rand McNally and USA TODAY will be visiting Mount Airy to see how it stacks up compared to the five other towns in the running. Mount Airy will be competing against Walla Walla, Wash., Valdosta, Ga., Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Woodward, Okla., and Nacogdoches, Texas.
On June 23, as part of the Best of the Road Rally sponsored by Rand McNally and USA TODAY, five teams of travelers hit the road from New York City. They will end up in Los Angeles on July 15. Along the way, each team will visit six towns in an assigned category — most beautiful, most patriotic, friendliest, most fun and best for food — as well as points of interest along the way. At the end of the rally, a panel of travel experts from Rand McNally and USA TODAY will determine which team will win first place and $100,000.
To help Mount Airy win the Internet voting part of the contest, links were sent out from the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce so that locals would spread the word to vote for Mount Airy. When that portion of the contest ended recently, Mount Airy received 142 votes for the friendliest town and four votes for the most beautiful town.
The number of reviews and the nature of the reviews are posted on www.bestoftheroad.com.
Jessica Icenhour, director of tourism with the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, said even being named to the top six friendliest towns in America will certainly boost tourism to the area.
“It is great publicity that Mount Airy was selected as one of the finalists as the top six friendliest towns. This type of publicity will bring many people into our town as this selection has come through some powerful media including USA TODAY and Rand McNally for the Best of the Road contest,” said Icenhour.
Having Mount Airy nominated for the contest came as no surprise to Icenhour.
“Visitors that come into the Mount Airy Visitors Center always comment about how friendly our town is and how the people are real and genuine. Mount Airy is not only known as the Granite City and Mayberry but is considered by many as America’s favorite small town because of the friendliness of the people. Visitors also comment on our quality of life and assets such as a thriving downtown full of weekly visitors and tourists,” said Icenhour.
Icenhour said one of the Road Rally teams came into the Mount Airy Visitors Center while on their trek across America.
“They mentioned that they could not believe how friendly the town was and how welcoming everybody was. They said this was a destination for visitors and guests to come and feel welcome. They also mentioned what gracious hospitality they received while here in town,” said Icenhour.
As part of the promotion, those who made the top six list in any catagory as Mount Airy has will be featured in the 2013 Rand McNally Road Atlas.
“Being selected as one of the top friendliest towns will also put us on the atlas which will also be beneficial to Mount Airy in the future as well,” Icenhour said. “This type of publicity will bring more visitors into our area that will stay longer and spend more money and impact our local economy in a positive way.”
The winner will be picked on June 22.
Contact Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.