Dear Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau:
I’m about to give you a multi-million dollar idea. You’re welcome.
I would’ve written earlier but I didn’t find out about this until last week and last week I was busy writing about other things.
Are you aware that Peter Jason Quill, aka Star-Lord, leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, was born right here in beautiful St. Charles, Missouri? I wasn’t aware of it myself until recently, and since I don’t know what the nerd quota is on the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau, I figured I should make you aware.
This is BIG. We can’t ride on Lewis and Clark’s coattails forever. It’s past time for St. Charles to get its tourism mojo out of the 19th century and aim for the stars.
And this is totally legit. Historians argue about whether or not L&C really began their journey in St. Charles. No one is questioning that when Peter Quill was sucked up into a spaceship as a child, he was in St. Charles when it happened.
How can we cash in on this pop culture gift from Marvel Comics? Pay attention.
1. We Need A Statue
Aren’t you tired of living in the shadow of the St. Louis Arch and all that bragging about it being the “Gateway to the West?” St. Charles is now the “Gateway to Knowhere,” baby. That is so much cooler.
And aren’t you tired of St. Louisans always acting like they’re better than we are? You know who the native son superhero of St. Louis is? The Whizzer. That’s right. A character so lame that he appeared as a crazy person for about 10 minutes in “Jessica Jones” season 2 before they killed him.
In pop culture terms, we are totally kicking St. Louis’ ass now. But only if we act on it.
Look, that Lewis, Clark and Seaman statue in Frontier Park is great. It’s huge, people flock to it and have their photos taken with it. It’s a landmark you put in all the brochures. I’m sure it was worth every cent we paid for it.
Now, imagine if we put up a statue of someone people cared about.
A giant-size Star-Lord statue would bring in the masses. Have you been to Comic-Con? Have you seen the crowds? People would love it. Plant a tree next to it and name it Groot. Find a friendly taxidermist in town and pay him to keep up a steady supply of life-like Rocket Raccoons. I’m practically giving you a license to print money.
You may be thinking, “A statue to honor a fictional character? How stupid is that?”
Have you been to Metropolis, Illinois? Or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home of the Rocky Balboa statue? Or Fargo, Wisconsin, home of the Marge Gunderson statue? Or Detroit, Michigan, home of the Robocop statue? And do I even have to mention that Star-Lord’s movies have probably made more at the box office than all those other characters combined? (well, at least Fargo and Robocop)
2. Star-Lord Fest
By last count, St. Charles hosts 600 festivals a year on the riverfront. Why not one more?
I guarantee you, “Guardians of the Galaxy Days” would draw far more people to St. Charles than Lewis and Clark Days. Or the Irish Festival. Or Oktoberfest. Or MOsaics. Or the Ice Carving festival. Maybe not as many people as the Festival of the Little Hills or Christmas Traditions. But who knows? It might.
Aren’t we a little tired of all the olde tyme stuff? Who doesn’t want to see Main Street filled with women painted green? Or men with blue skin and red fins on their heads? Or furries in raccoon suits? The possibilities are endless.
You could even make it partly a music festival. Bring in some classic rock cover bands to perform on the stage in Frontier Park (You could probably get KSHE to sponsor it). Or heck, get the original artists if they’re still alive. Many of them would probably appreciate the exposure.
And who knows, maybe you could get Chris Pratt to come to town for the festival. James Gunn might be up for it.
OK, St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau, the ball is in your court — because God knows nothing I write here is ever going viral — so make this happen.
cc: St. Charles Chamber of Commerce