Brookings just launched a new tourism program promoting the city's many hidden gems.
Nick's Hamburger Shop has always been a place to see and be seen.
"Nick's has always been a part of Brookings history, and a lot of people come here just to see old friends, meet with relatives, whatever the occasion might be. They think of Nick's a lot, and we appreciate it," owner Todd Fergen said.
Now, you can get your passport stamped here, too.
"We like to participate in everything that does represent Brookings, so we're happy that they asked us," Fergen said.
The restaurant is one of eight businesses taking part in the new Brookings Great 8 program. Travelers from near and far away will get a passport book stamped each time they make a stop. Fill up the book or earn at least six stamps and you may win $25.
"Our main goal with the program was cross-promotion, both for visitors and for residents," Jennifer Johnson, executive director with Brookings Convention & Visitor's Bureau, said. "I think all of us in our respective communities can be guilty of saying we've maybe been there or done that, but we maybe actually haven't."
It's tourism with a local flavor.
"The idea here is, obviously, focused on visitors first," Johnson said. "We want visitors coming to Brookings to be aware of all of the offerings our community has, but at the same time, we also want residents to give it a go, too."
"It's a pretty close-knit community, and we kind of support everybody we can," Fergen said.
The eight participating locations are the Children's Museum of South Dakota, the McCrory Gardens Education & Visitor Center, the South Dakota Art Museum, the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, Nick's Hamburger Shop, the Outdoor Adventure Center of South Dakota, the SDSU Dairy Bar and the Brookings Art Council & The Artful Dozen Sculptures.
You can get the passport at the locations or the Convention & Visitor's Bureau. The program lasts through the end of this year. If it goes well, they may do it again in the future.
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