Lindsborg was thinking in Instagram Age terms before there *was* an Instagram. Witness the lively and colorful Wild Dala Horse herd. It started to gather in 2002, eight years before Instagram was born. The Wild Dalas were made for photographs, to tell a visual story about this place. So is Instagram — made for photographs that tell a story or convey a feeling.
Before going on, let’s reach for some definitions. What is Instagram? It is a social media application launched in 2010 for sharing photographs. Instagram helps people communicate what they are doing, where they live, travel, eat and decorate — from gardening and household decor to clothing, accessories and pets. Instagram posts usually appear in a signature square format. Hashtags — words preceded by a # symbol — help Instagrammers search, sort and follow areas of interest to them. #lindsborg #interiordesign #dachshund #Bethany Arise. Photographs and hashtags on Instagram have become a particular language, a shorthand for what’s new or notable, what’s interesting or surprising, what’s creative or funky.
Now, back to this morning. We talked of what is, in a word, Instagrammable about the Smoky Valley. CVB director Holly Lofton already has a nice list, prepared for a statewide tourism Instagram event at the J.O. Sundstrom a couple of years ago. We talked about ways to keep Lindsborg's visual conversation fresh and relevant — on Instagram and, even more, for those who live and visit here. Liz Lahodny of Lindsborg Realty referred to "unexpected flair,” and we kept going back to that phrase. How do we create flair — color, humor, whimsy, story, feeling -- in unexpected places?
Of course, it’s safer and easier to replicate what can be seen elsewhere. We’re not looking for that. What’s a bit of unexpected flair that is *particular to our place and to your place*? Maybe something possible with the help of friends, family and perhaps a little public interaction? Less costly and more creative? What about the rear of your property as a staging area for unexpected color, humor or movement? What is Instagrammable about our food — plant a little Lindsborg flag on each dish via toothpick, perhaps? How about more creativity in unexpected places — like bathrooms? Just think about photographable places like the Tala Dala phone booth in front of Blacksmith Coffee, the mural on the side of Merle and Lesa Larson’s building at 135 N. Main, our constantly changing sandwich boards and window displays, the large styrofoam holiday tomtes. And the Wild Dalas, too. Even after all these years people are hamming it up photographically with these characters. (And by the way, how is *your* Wild Dala holding up? Looking a little worse for wear? If you own one, please cast a critical eye and spiffy it up in time for the 150th celebration.)
This morning Kimi at Hairymolarys came up with a couple of new hashtags: #lindstagram and #findingfriendliness. Nice, yes? Thanks, both Kimi and Liz. Meanwhile, let’s take more steps toward unexpected flair, whether you Instagram or not.
Returning to Lindsborg this week are nursing students from Marymount College in Salina. Thanks to the service provided by Lindsborg CVB, these retired nurses have spurned locales such as Las Vegas in favor of Lindsborg several years in a row to tour our area and toast each other at the Swedish Country Inn.
It’s Bethany College's always-competitive football game against K-Dub at Anderson Field at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. The Smoky Valley Viking varsity football team is playing on the road at Clay Center on Friday night.
Genealogy researchers will be at the McPherson County Old Mill Museum this weekend.
Exhibition starts tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 25, of items that will be up for auction through the Raymer Society/Red Barn Studio on Oct. 27. In other art news, a reception for Bethany College student Grace Peterson will be 4-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28.
This coming Sunday, Sept. 30, please join with friends and family at Bethany Home’s annual dinner and benefit auction starting with cocktails at 5 p.m. at the J.O. Sundstrom Center. Delivering the keynote will be humorist Amy Dee. Catered by Farley’s with vacation home stays among the larger auction items. Tickets $35 per ticket, $60 for two, available here: http://bethanyhome.com/development/donate/
Looking ahead: There’s a new event on Oct. 20 called Kasino Royale, a benefit event for Svensk Hyllningsfest. Games from 7-10 p.m. with prizes, food and good energy. That’s $35 a person; tables are available for sponsorship, too. Tickets at People’s Bank.
An Ad Hoc group has been working for some time on creating moveable-yet-wind and weather resistant public seating for Lindsborg. Thanks to a wonderful $1,000 donation of proceeds by the Smoky Valley Car Show Committee, the bench project is now on the front burner with heat turned to high. Kelly Dauer at Dauer Welding has kindly helped with a design for a backless, powder coated black metal bench in two lengths plus a wrap-around-a-tree model. The first two benches are being made now, and purchase prices are expected to range from $400 to $1,000. An advantage: These benches may be sponsored as memorials and acknowledgements. More details to come. Thanks, Kelly, for helping us get the most for our money — and a fine appearance, too.