By Blake Musser
September 19, 2017

What an amazing weekend! As a community, we once again showed others and ourselves that we know how to put on some fantastic events.

Paint the Port, Tour de Freeport, Brewfest and Paddle the Pec were individually and collectively wonderful. All of the events this weekend were well-attended and the mood was positive and hopeful. Thank you to all of the organizations and people that helped pull this past weekend off. The hours of volunteerism and hard work are extremely appreciated.

I had the pleasure of attending all of the events. As I was passing out community-satisfaction surveys and making a point of talking with as many people as I could, two exciting themes emerged. The first was the large number of out-of-town visitors. I spoke to people visiting from Chicago, both the city and suburbs, Rockford, and the Wisconsin cities of Lake Geneva, Monroe and Madison.

Some were friends and family of community members, while others did not previously have a connection to Freeport. They simply heard about our events and wanted to see what was happening. These tourists were extremely complimentary to our community. Several noted that they were impressed with how we seem to be turning things around here. They all said that they are looking forward to having another reason to return.

The second theme was the number of people that are new to the area. Frankly, the large number of people I spoke with who had moved to our area within the last year surprised me. Each and every one of these new community members stated that they relocated here for career opportunities. The positions and organizations that attracted them were in both the private and public sectors.

The individuals varied from those who are early in their careers to those with significant work experience. Some were single and some were married. The best part of the conversation was when they repeatedly shared the reasons they decided to move here. They said it mattered to them that our community is working so hard to build a positive image. They want to be a part of the growth and the opportunities that are going to come.

Our community is going through changes and others are taking notice. Once again, thank you to all the volunteers and all of you who attended the weekend events. Please visit to find out more about this and other events in our community.

Blake Musser is the director of community marketing for Collaborate Freeport. He can be reached at Journal Standard article link.