Visit McHenry County. It’s a new year, and that’s the new name of the McHenry County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Established in 2005 and certified in 2008 as the official destination marketing organization of McHenry County by the Illinois Office of Tourism, our purpose is to market and promote everything the county has to offer visitors. Whether one is traveling here from somewhere outside the county or one calls McHenry County home, Visit McHenry County is the resource to use to plan your visit.
Our new name is one of the results of a year-long strategic plan, destination analysis and organizational assessment process. Our new name is direct, understandable, recognizable and memorable. Visit McHenry County also speaks to our organization’s key role as the authority on all things related to our region’s local visitor economy. We are here, not only to market and promote McHenry County as a visitor destination but also to help create an environment that ensures a rich cultural experience that will attract visitors year round.
We are excited to be moving forward with new energy and focus on the visitor experience. We will continue to send out our message encouraging those outside the area to spend a day, a night or more in our county. In addition, we also hope McHenry County residents will turn to Visit McHenry County as a resource when planning things to do with their friends and family in their free time or for special events.
Visit McHenry County is a private, nonprofit, mutual-benefit organization comprised of community business partners and organizations, local governments and individuals seeking a better community through the visitor industry. We also drive economic development through tourism. In 2012, tourism generated $212.8 million in total travel expenditures by the visitor. This in turn generated $6.5 million in local taxes and more than 1,500 tourism-related jobs. For local businesses that want to attract these travelers, Visit McHenry County is your resource for expanding your marketing reach beyond the borders of the county.
In other news, one of the fastest-growing fitness events is coming to McHenry County. Hard Charge combines fun with fitness as an obstacle racing course. Hard Charge encourages people to get active and have a blast doing it. Hard Charge is also the first televised obstacle course racing series. Residents and visitors to McHenry County will have an opportunity to get in on the fun July 19 when Hard Charge brings its televised obstacle mission to Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove.
Registration is open to everyone at www.hardcharge.com. Check out Hard Charge on Comcast SportsNet Chicago every Saturday at 3 p.m., then gather your friends and sign your team up for this exciting event.
• Jaki Berggren is executive director of Visit McHenry County. Reach her at 815-893-6280. Request our 2013/2014 McHenry County Visitor Guides at www.visitmchenrycounty.com. Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/visitmchenrycounty and Twitter www.twitter.com/Mchenry_County.