1/2/2020 7:29:00 AM Hodag Fan Club reaches 1,000 members
The Hodag Fan Club now boasts more than 1,000 members, the Rhinelander Tourism Marketing Committee announced this week.
In just over 6 months, the club has collected members from 41 states, and as far away as Hawaii. Fans range from ages 1 to 84 years young, the committee's press release states.
The Hodag Fan Club began in the spring of 2019 as a marketing initiative by the Rhinelander Tourism Marketing Committee as a way to spread the word about Rhinelander's most legendary resident and to pique potential travelers' interest in the beautiful Northwoods city, the release states.
"It took off really fast," said Lauren Sackett, executive director of the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce. "There's so much love, so much nostalgia out there for the Hodag that word spread like wildfire and people just loved the idea of seeing more of him. It didn't take long for the numbers to start adding up."
Fan club members who sign up at www.hodagfanclub.com receive four seasonal newsletters filled with fun games, trivia, fan photos and a drawing contest, plus a welcome letter from the Hodag, an autographed photo, a Hodag sticker and an official Hodag Fan Club membership card. These items are available exclusively to fan club members.
"Our hope is that the Hodag Fan Club gets people really excited about visiting Rhinelander," Sackett said. "We want visitors to know that this is a fun, light-hearted community and a great place to make memories."
Over the last couple of years, the Tourism Marketing Committee has leaned heavily on the Hodag as a distinguishing element from other Northwoods communities. The tourism website, explorerhinelander.com, is Hodag-themed and the mythical beast even has his own Instagram and Twitter accounts.
"People come here, of course, for the beautiful scenery, the lakes and the trails, but no other place can say they have the Hodag," Sackett remarked. "People love the history, the lore, the nostalgia of the Hodag's story and how beloved and incorporated he is in the community. We hope 2020 brings more people here to experience it for themselves."
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