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Bring back “Be a Tourist”

After a five-year hiatus, Explore Flint & Genesee is bringing back a local favorite. “Be a Tourist in Your Hometown” — launched in 2013 to encourage residents to explore the community — is officially scheduled for August 10, 2024.

“As the Genesee County Convention and Visitors Bureau, our team is responsible for promoting the region to a largely outside audience,” said Amari Steward, executive director of Explore Flint & Genesee, a division of the Flint & Genesee Group. “But it’s equally important that we engage the people who live here. When residents are familiar with the many cultural attractions our community has to offer, they become our best ambassadors and advocates.”

Here’s how the event works: For $1 per person, attendees can purchase a pass that gives them access to more than 20 attractions at no additional cost. During the day, attendees can take five different tours, including a walking tour, a history tour, a family-friendly tour, an arts and culture tour, and a “What’s New” tour.

Stops include Applewood, Buckham Gallery, Comma Bookstore, Flint Children’s Museum, Flint Farmers’ Market, Flint Institute of Arts, Gloria Coles Flint Public Library, Hilton Garden Inn, Mott Park Recreation Area, Mott-Warsh Gallery, Shops on Saginaw, Sloan Museum of Discovery, St. Paul Episcopal Church, Totem Bookers, the Frances Wilson Thompson Library at the University of Michigan-Flint, and the Whaley Historic House Museum.

Participants can drive or walk to participating sites—a full list will be posted closer to the event at ExploreFlintandGenesee.org/BAT—or they can take one of the buses provided and sponsored by the Mass Transportation Authority.

Steward expects a large turnout, especially given that 810 Day celebrations are taking place simultaneously in downtown Flint. The event, which was put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic, drew over 1,000 attendees at its peak.

She is also optimistic that the event – like many other major events and festivals that take place downtown during the summer – will provide a boost to businesses that see increased traffic on the day.

“Several area restaurants are planning to offer an ‘810 Day Special’ as part of our ‘Be a Tourist’ activities,” Steward said. “It’s a great way to experience some of the best things the city has to offer.”

However, residents do not have to wait for “Be a Tourist” to explore the community on their own.

“This event highlights just a fraction of the many great things to do in Flint & Genesee,” she said. “Whether it’s kayaking on one of our rivers, exploring our farmers markets or checking out live performances at one of our music venues, there are plenty of ways to be a ‘tourist’ in your hometown this summer – and really all year long.”

Looking for ideas on how to explore the area or plan your own day or weekend getaway? Visit ExploreFlintandGenesee.org for an extensive events calendar, travel suggestions and a regularly updated blog.