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Fast Start: Taking the slow road

Rochester Business Journal
October 11, 2013

Benjamin Woelk, creator, co-producer and host, "Slow Road"

What is "Slow Road"?

"Slow Road" is a documentary travel series (and movement) that redefines the accessibility of "escape" and encourages the exploration of the Upstate and Western New York area. "Slow Road" focuses on discovering the places that can be found when we take the roads less traveled and meet the people, local businesses and Main Street communities that surround us.

Who is involved in it? Do you have titles?

In addition to me (I'm also vice president of the Western Erie Canal Alliance and associate director of Friends of the GardenAerial), Jason Darnieder of Flower City Media Inc. is the co-producer and camera for the series.

How did it come about?

"Slow Road" was born out of the personal experiences I encountered while traveling across New York during my graduate program in public policy, tourism and marketing at Rochester Institute of Technology and throughout my life here in Rochester. It is born out of the desire to see local communities featured in a way traditional media seem unable to fully capture, and to introduce people to an entire new world that exists in their own backyards.

Jason shared this similar passion for Upstate New York and a desire to capture the beauty and aesthetics that exist all around us; he has filmed all over New York and the nation.

What is engagement travel?

"Slow Road" seeks to introduce this concept. It encourages a visitor to find the authentic grassroots level that local communities offer. It stems from an idea for sustainable tourism that aims to benefit the local economies of places visited. It shows how visitors can buy local and find the core of where a city, town, village or neighborhood began.

What makes this program unique?

This project explores the fringe and regionally obscure and injects their existence into an urban area. In bringing awareness to "slow roads," we are seeking to redefine regionalism and traditional tourism by demonstrating the mutually beneficial relationship that can exist between cities and rural areas. "Slow Road" is based on promoting the journey and building cartilage that connects these communities. We hope to build long-term tourism and relationships that directly impact the places featured.

How would a show like this help Upstate and Western New York?

"Slow Road" has the ability to champion regional community identity and to serve as a guide to places worth discovering that exist all around us. It will benefit individuals by connecting them to amazing experiences, and it will benefit the places featured through support of their local economies.

You have a Kickstarter campaign. What is your goal?

Our campaign aims to raise $30,000 toward the funding of the production of Season 1 (nine episodes) between now and September 2014. We have created some unique and compelling incentives to connect supporters to these local communities. The deadline for donations is Nov. 11.

We have a segment from Episode 1 available to view at www.kickstarter.com. Enter "Slow Road" in the search bar, or visit us at www.slowroadtravel.com to learn more.

10/11/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


 


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