If you live around here, you already know what a great place the Chippewa Valley is - and Visit Eau Claire, the region's tourism promotion agency, is counting on you to help spread the word. Efforts like the Fun Patrol - which brings its flashing light, spinning wheel, and stuffed dog to 300 events annually - and social media marketing are designed to turn local residents into tourism ambassadors.

"It's very healthy," John said of the Valley's tourism economy. "The number we posted for 2013 are the best in the history of tourism in Eau Claire." In fact, total tourism-related sales in Eau Claire County reached $320 million last year, according to new Department of Tourism statistics.

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Original article by Tom Giffey, Volume One.