More than likely you have heard of one or more of these phrases as we say goodbye to those wintery days and look forward to Spring.
In the case of Mad as a March hare, it may be a reference to the erratic behavior of animals (or humans) in the month of March . . . what about March, coming in like a Lion and out like a Lamb . . . well, the Rev. Dr. David Q. Hall describes why “March winds are well known” in his blog, The Rev. Dr.s Musings on Nature, Life and Belief.
The phrase March Madness actually pertained to the European Hare’s breeding season, but a more current (20th Century) reference is about Basketball. Fact is, March Madness became a nickname for the NCAA Basketball tournaments, which take place in the month of March. The tie in to tourism is simply that the tournaments take place in a variety of cities each March (and often go into early April), thus attracting a great number of basketball fans, supporters, etc. who not only fill sport venue bleachers and seats, but as is the case with out-of-town visitors, require overnight lodging, the requisite number of meals and an assortment of purchases; all which help to beef up the economical windfall for the lucky hosting city(s).
Tourism would be greatly affected today had it not been for the Wright Brothers and the first airplane flight on December 17, 1903 and although it took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they hailed from Dayton, Ohio, called the birthplace of aviation, and the first stop for the ‘First Four’ at UD Arena in Dayton (March 18-19). Not only will basketball fans be treated to a heart-pounding, foot-stomping start to 2014’s March Madness, but there’s more to Dayton than just the hoops, like the world’s largest and oldest aviation museum, “National Museum of the U.S. Air Force” and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park.
As we get further up the brackets in March Madness we find ourselves in Buffalo, New York at the First Niagara Center on March 20th and 22nd. Hopefully the “Falls” have thawed out by now. With an estimated more than 14 million visitors per year, Niagara Falls is indeed at the top of the tourism totem pole, no matter if you are visiting the American or Canadian side of the Falls. While you are bound to get wet if you ride aboard Maid of Mist, you can stay dry while observing a very fishy venue at Aquarium of Niagara
We can’t seem to escape those cold March winds, especially near the Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where more 2nd and 3rd round games will be played; but, if you are simply tired of the cold, why not head to sunny Florida and catch a playoff game at Amway Center in Orlando, or for a different venue altogether, the great northwest might just be the ticket you are looking for at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Washington.
Be sure to visit the Pabst Theatre, the Grand Dame of Milwaukee, built in 1895 by Captain Frederick Pabst, which is the fourth-oldest continuously operating theater in the U.S. It opulent interior and exterior, and world-re-known ‘pure’ acoustics has hosted every great name in 20th century, music, dance and drama for more than 100 years
From the upper Midwest to the far northwest, we travel to Spokane for more 2nd and 3rd round playoff tournament games, and while basketball may be the reason you’re there, to round out your visit you might want to hop aboard one of the 54 horses, part of one of America’s “most beautiful and well preserved hand-crafted wooden carrousels, located in Riverfront Park. Not only is the 1909 Looff Carrousel listed on the National Register of Historic Places, all of the animals that make up the carrousel are originals.
Be sure to look for the next March Madness blog where we will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina and San Antonio, Texas.