Tuesday, May 31, 2011, the Victoria Chamber of Commerce notified the City of Victoria that they will not seek to renew their contract with the city for management of the Victoria Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Citing initiatives that have been successful spin offs from the Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO of the chamber Randy Vivian said the CVB will now join other thriving entities such as Keep Victoria Beautiful and SureBET. Both programs started in the Chamber. The City of Victoria will most likely take over management of the CVB on September1, 2011.

With the chamber out of the day to day management of the CVB, this is a great opportunity for the city to take a hard look at just how successful the “Bring Your Boots” campaign might be. It’s been our belief, that while the campaign is a very slick and high class campaign, there still remains the question of exactly why and what there is to “bring your boots” to. With the initial announcement of this campaign, it always appeared to us CVB was putting the cart before the horse. There is no doubt we want out-of-town visitors to come to Victoria, but we first have to establish what would be the most successful thing to bring visitors here. A Boot Fest is, and has been, last on our list of festivals that would attract the likes from Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi. It almost appeared that Boot Fest was a Hail Mary pass that some would hope would catch on. We’re not convinced that locals have bought into this Boot Fest campaign. And if there is no local support, it’s going to be hard to do a second Boot Fest.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent by the CVB with little or no oversight of why. It would be our recommendation to the city that they should appoint an oversight commission that will review how the Hotel and Motel Tax Funds are being spent by the CVB. This commission should include a cross section of the community that includes hotel owners/managers, marketing professionals, legal advisors and those familiar with the entertainment industry. Accountability by the CVB to the city must be the most important thing this commission could establish. There is not a department in the City of Victoria that has free reign of a million dollar budget to spend as they please. CVB officials should prepare themselves to adhere to city policy as established by a created CVB Commission and again, full accountability must be maintained.

Since the Lucchese boot was not actually manufactured here, it always seemed like a stretch to make this viable. Look at it this way, Ron Gant once played professional baseball and was from Victoria, but a Baseball Fest doesn’t really make sense. Jerheme Urban plays professional football, but you would have to agree that Pigskin Fest would not work either. We need a festival that reflects our rich history and heritage. We have seen the idea of DeLeon Days floated. This idea has legs under it and is worth pursuing in to a festival. It celebrates the founding family of this community and it also gives every citizen in Victoria some ownership of our history and how it played such an integral role in the history of Texas. Why not start integrating DeLeon Days into future Boot Fests?

We hope that Boot Fest is a success this year and we don’t want to seem to be pouring cold water on this concept. We hope that with the re-organization of the CVB under the control of the City of Victoria, it will assist the CVB in gathering input from the citizens of Victoria instead of borrowing a slogan from Canada and hoping to make a festival built around a set of a five word slogan of “Bring Your Boots To Victoria.”

We congratulate the Chamber for providing a direction to the CVB after reviving it to more than a family reunion planning organization. And we applaud the Chamber in giving another organization that has great potential to have the opportunity to leave the nest and make it on its own.