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World Café draws new ideas for Red Wing tourism

Red Wing World World Café invited people to focus on the positive. People broke into small groups and wrote down community assets before diving into ways to attract tourists.(Republican Eagle photos by Anne Jacobson)1 / 2
Ethan Seaberg opens a community discussion on how to boost tourism. 2 / 2

Several dozen Red Wing community members gathered at the Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical campus Saturday to talk about area tourism, and event organizers said they brought plenty of good ideas to the table.

The open discussion, dubbed a World Café, was put on by members of the Blandin Foundation’s Academy for Community Engagement or ACE, a program to train leaders in rural Minnesota communities and tackle local issues.

“The energy that left Southeast Tech was amazing,” said Jill Prahl Fanslow, part of the Red Wing ACE group that lead the event. She said it succeeded in bringing in a range of community members with many different viewpoints.

“And quite a few new faces,” said Scott Adkisson, a fellow ACE member. One of the group’s goals was to hear ideas from people who usually aren’t vocal about local issues.

“There were a lot of fresh ideas and suggestions on how to move potentially forward,” he said.

The format of the World Café included three questions pertaining to Red Wing tourism. Participants were split into small groups to discuss one question and then reshuffled into new groups before moving on to the next.

“The questions spurred great conversations,” Fanslow said. “We never had a dull moment.”

As part of a commitment to share the results of the discussion with the community, ACE members said they are transcribing the pages of notes taken Saturday and picking out common themes. That information will be presented at a “going forward” meeting 5:30 p.m. April 1 at the Red Wing Ignite Building, 419 Bush St.

Invitations to the meeting are going out to World Café attendees, but everyone in the community is welcome to attend, Fanslow said.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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