July 03, 2013: Preparing for State Fair and Hotel Hell Drama

Calaveras Exhibit at State Fair

It’s getting pretty busy here with State Fair starting in less than two weeks. Last week I gave a volunteer presentation for our many loyal volunteers who come out to Sacramento every year to represent Calaveras County to State Fair visitors in Sacramento. Some of our volunteers (including our volunteer coordinator: Diane Kriletich) have generously donated their time, energy and enthusiasm on behalf of the county for more than 17 years! So, in this year’s presentation, we included a volunteer recognition and appreciation. It was great getting to meet all of these outstanding people and I look forward to working with them over the next few weeks.

For now, I am working on pulling together locally produced items for display against the beautiful and fun backdrop that our booth builder, Richard Bay, has created from ideas submitted by the CVB marketing committee. This year we will have 6 different kid-friendly games to fit with our theme, which is Calaveras: Your Family Adventure Land. To see more details, click on the presentation above.

JULY 19 UPDATE: Local media coverage about our award winning booth:

Calaveras Enterprise:

Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay Gets Rockstar Response in Calaveras County!

It was pretty crazy in Murphys for a week with Fox’s Hotel Hell filming at Murphys Historic Hotel, and starstruck locals hanging out across the street hoping for a glimpse of the show’s star, Gordon Ramsay. I must admit, the local response surprised me, although I’m not sure why, because I was probably just as excited myself. Can I just say, he’s more handsome and charming in person? Okay, back to details:

When we worked on getting the show here, we knew it would be likely to be very stressful for the hotel’s owners, but the payoffs were potentially huge.  To have Gordon Ramsay bring his incredible expertise and passion to a business at the heart of our county was a fantastic opportunity. And that was the very attitude expressed by the new owners at the Murphys Hotel who had the benefit of the community at heart from the get go. Thanks so much to Brian Goss, Kevin Clerico and Joel Lacitignola for having the courage to go through the potentially harrowing process, and to Dorian Faught for being willing, from the outset, to be the fall guy if needed. And what a result! Beautiful and sophisticated changes were made to certain rooms – just one of the outward improvements. Bearing in mind Ramsay’s chef credentials, you won’t be surprised to learn the menu also has some great changes, so head on over for a meal when you can to taste the new yumminess.

Much of the equipment, personnel, catering, lodging and other amenities needed by the crew for the week were sourced locally from lists put together specific to their requests by the CVB. We gave them plenty of suggestions for local beauty spots to film to provide backdrop to the story, including Calaveras Big Trees State Park, which features heavily in the renovations. We know the production company spent plenty of money here while they were filming, but of course, the full benefits will not be seen until later this year when the episode airs.

I was fortunate enough to be invited for some of the filming, along with Wendi Davison of the Arnold Black Bear Inn (it was great how they involved the community in so much of the show). At one point, Gordon Ramsay told us he loved Murphys and was thinking of moving here, at which point Wendi and I exclaimed, in unison as if on cue: “You should!” We won’t be holding our breath, but it’s nice to know he was suitably impressed.

There’s a nice little write-up from the Calaveras Enterprise about the financial benefits experienced by Murphys and surrounding business during the filming of the Murphys Historic Hotel episode on FOX’s Hotel Hell. The article is aptly titled: Economic heaven follows ‘Hotel Hell.’