Thursday, September 10, 2009

Maine's mascots

A moose, a lobster and a fisherman walk into a tollbooth.

Ok, this really isn't a joke.

This Labor Day, as on the nine previous, the Maine Turnpike did a good thing -- pass out calendars to some 15,000 motorists who visited the state over the holiday weekend. In past years, Maine's Turnpike handed out magnets and other souvenirs.

This year the calendar features six Maine lighthouses and a listing of signature events scheduled for this fall in Maine. Obviously, Maine wants those people to go back.

But what caught my attention, and I'm sure the motorists on the Turnpike as well, were the three mascots on hand for the promotion.

Miles the Maine Turnpike Moose, D. Claude Lobster and Laney the Lobster Fisherman were the featured attractions.

I didn't see a picture of the moose, lobster or fisherman, but I'm sure they were a sight. The Maine tourism promotion is a great idea. People were lined up on the Turnpike for miles on the holiday weekend so having some characters running around with calendars might have at least provided some distractions.

My experience with Maine is very limited. I went to a transportation conference there once and what I remember most is the lobster house where we feasted. Maine lobster lived up to the hype and I enjoyed the mild summer weather.

Coming from California and having spent a long time in Florida, Maine is almost an alien environment.

A quick check on Maine's tourism website revealed the following:
  • The state capital is Augusta
  • The state bird is the chickadee
  • The state insect is the honeybee
  • Maine is 320 miles long and 210 miles wide
  • Maine has more than 60 lighthouses
And on Labor Day weekends you have a chance of getting a nice parting gift from a moose, lobster or fisherman.

David Fierro is a transportation public affairs consultant. He is a former newspaper and magazine editor and worked for both the Florida and Virginia departments of transportation. He resides in Sanford, Florida.

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