Events that celebrate the arrival of spring in West Virginia are expected to be bigger and more popular than ever, according to the publisher of West Virginia Explorer Magazine.
Ramp dinners, wildflower walks, and maple-syrup festivals are all drawing more tourists to the Mountain State, says David Sibray, who says he expects the trend will continue.
"Pocahontas County has been advertising its maple syrup festivals on our website since December," Sibray says. "It's not too early to reach these hungry audiences, and there are hundreds of thousands of tourists looking for these kinds of experiences."
For the fifth year in a row, the magazine will publish a guide to ramp festivals, which is usually visited by more than 50,000 readers annually, and this year it will unveil a new guide to maple syrup festivals.
"All eyes are turning to West Virginia," Sibray said. "People are looking for the kind of escape that we provide."
Sibray said he thinks many residents of the surrounding states are tired of the endless news cycle and are disenchanted with city life, and many are turning to West Virginia, which they perceive as a haven from metropolitan worries.
"The top seven percent of our readers are from Washington, D.C., and the third-largest market we serve is New York City, which I think says a lot about what's happening here," he says.
"These people are worried, and an escape to the Mountain State is the remedy, or so they perceive it, and I'm happy to welcome them."
Spring festivals are also good money makers for small organizations, he says.
Most of the ramp festivals and wildflower walks are sponsored by local non-profit organizations that are benefitting from the increased attention, so these events are particularly important.
To find out more about promoting a spring event, contact the magazine offices at 304-575-7390 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.