Lee county is using a sweepstakes to sell vacationing this coming summer. Winners get unique experiences, such as painting sessions with artist Leoma Lovegrove, and fishing with former guide and now, author, Randy Wayne White.
"I am so excited to do this. The winner who gets me will get 3 nights in our cottage on the grounds here in Matlacha, plus I will do a guided tour of the arts scene here, and have two painting sessions. The person will leave with a masterpiece. Doesn't matter if you have talent, we will just make it happen," explains Lovegrove.
"This is something new and creative to try to sell our destination. We are always looking for new ways to bring people here. We want to have a healthy summer season," says Tamara Pigott, dir. of the Lee co. Visitor and Convention Bureau.
People can join the sweepstakes by signing up for e-mails from the visitor's group. There will be drawings over 60 days. 56 winners will get discounts to hotels and attractions. Four will be grand prize winners. Two winners will have experiences in person with Lovegrove and White; one other will get shelling advice on Sanibel Island from shelling expert Pam Rambo. One other winner will get to kayak with Brian Houston, a nationally-recognized kayaker and naturalist.
"These people are passionate about the area, and they will be advocates for bringing people here. It's not really selling, it's more like engaging people to join these local personalities to vacation here," says Pigott.
The four people are offering their time and talents, free of charge to the visitor's bureau.