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A Trip Down Main Street

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Gary A. White Director Business Retention & Expansion, TRIDEC

Gary A. White
Business Retention & Expansion, TRIDEC

One can imagine it starting with a flick of the pen, a glob of ink, black as coal, on a stark, white, clean piece of paper, nary a trace of lines or organization, just sitting there, waiting for orders. This glob was different than its ancestors. This glob didn’t give birth to animated characters. No, not a head with a long nose and big ears, a bicep that was merely a bump, precariously balanced on a skinny arm, an oval body atop legs that appear too thin to function firmly grounded by large feet that made standing doable, but walking, much less running, appear impossible.

This ink was different. It shot upward and outward reaching for the corners and challenging the edges. It was thickened where necessary, thinned where appropriate. The lines were shaded, colored, straight and curved. The artist had created what imagination had preserved, a childhood when times were simpler, problems smaller and dreams bigger. This was Main Street in Marceline, Missouri during the innocent years of the last century, a century still on training wheels, a little wobbly, but confident. This new Main Street was carved out of an orange field, in appropriately named Orange County, in the Golden State. But, different than its inspiration, this Main Street takes the traveler on a far different journey, a journey into the past where buckskin is cool, into the future where the impossible isn’t, to a land far away where a machete cuts a path through the jungle to find doubloons and pieces of eight and to a land, oh, yes, a happy land where dreams do come true. Disneyland is a land of lands…..Frontierland, Tomorrowloand and Fantasyland.

A Land of Lands

The Columbia Basin is also a land of lands. Don’t get me wrong. The last time I saw a palm tree in the area, it was wrapped in heat tape to keep it from freezing during the winter. Hope springs eternal, even if the climate fails to cooperate. But, we do have “lands,” places that are marked by boundaries in the dirt or given comfort in our minds and in our ambitions.

Prosser Pavilion

On Friday, June 12, 2015 at the FABREO “Food & Beverage” Expo, TRAC Center, Pasco, Washington adventuresome souls will have the opportunity to adjust their pith helmets, lace up their hiking boots and button down their safari jackets as they explore the food, beverage and hospitality “lands,” in our case “pavilions,” of the Columbia Basin. Let’s start with that community up the Yakima River…..Prosser. Prosser will feature the 1,000 square foot Prosser Pavilion. The treasures are immense, the visit well worth the time, anchored by members of the economic development community, unique and quaint hospitality venues and such Prosser stalwarts as the Chukar Cherry Company and Apr√®s Vin Enterprises, Inc.

Badger Mountain South Pavilion

One of the most exciting commercial developments to break ground in the area in a long time will be featured in the Badger Mountain South Pavilion. We grabbed the development around the middle, squeezed hard and out popped the sixty plus acre Veneto Villaggio “Wine and Food Village”, anchored by the new Country Mercantile store. A little bit of old Italy combined with a little bit of new Columbia Basin sounds like great fun, and it will be.

Washington State University Tri-Cities Pavilion

You can’t have a great hospitality industry without great hospitality education. Fortunately, the Washington State University Tri-Cities Pavilion will be featuring their world-class hospitality program along with the highly regarded WSU Wine Science Center. The Cougars may be struggling in crossing the goal line or making three-point baskets, but they are hanging championship banners from the rafters at Washington State University Tri-Cities when it comes to hospitality education and the wine industry.

Barry-Wehmiller Design Group Pavilion

We are blessed with a number of food and beverage manufacturing start-ups, who need a food and beverage manufacturing leg-up. That leg-up is being provided in the Barry-Wehmiller Design Group Food & Beverage Start-up Pavilion, showcasing some of the most amazing, young, visionary, entrepreneurial food & beverage companies to ever stir up a new dessert concept or tame a hot pepper, all from the Columbia Basin. Visit them. You will be amazed!

ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston Pavilion

Talk about being amazed. How about the ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston Restaurant Start-up Pavilion. New restaurants, featuring visionary chefs, capturing culinary creations are popping up like dandelions in my yard after a Spring rain. Unfortunately, many of those entrepreneurs will never weather the storm, turn the corner or see the light of day without a little help and support. ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston is providing the help. You can provide the support.

Some might say I am living in Fantasyland, possibly got lost in Adventureland or wore my sombrero too tight in Frontierland. I tend to favor Tomorrowland. The Columbia Basin, like Disneyland, has its own special magic, its own sense of place and adventure, its own unique, exciting tomorrow. Sometimes we need to turn off the television, put down the phone, send the kids to grandma’s house and take a walk down Main Street.

On Friday, June 12, 2015, 5 – 9 PM at the TRAC Center in Pasco, you will have the opportunity to walk down our Main Street and explore the “lands” of the Columbia Basin, sample regional foods, taste local beverages and listen to incredible musicians that call the shadow of Rattlesnake Mountain home. For more information about the FABREO Expo, please contact me at 509-735-1000 or gwhite@tridec.org. The cost is a mere $25.00 per person. You can get more information and ¬†register on-line at www.fabreo.org. You can also pay at the door. Say “hello” as you wander down Main Street.



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