Chamber of Commerce to 'kidnap,' 'hang' tourists

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

The annual tradition of kidnapping tourists for the Fortuna Rodeo is in full swing. The Fortuna Chamber of Commerce will be looking for an unsuspecting tourist couple who is not planning on staying in Fortuna over the weekend.

Once that couple is discovered they will be cuffed and stuffed. The kidnapped couple will be arrested at their hotel where they will be delivered to a mob at the former bowling alley. There they will be loaded like cattle into a waiting jail barred truck and paraded through town for sentencing escorted by two young floozies. The role of the Fortuna Rodeo kidnapped tourist floozies will be played by local Fortuna resident Alexia Nyberg and friend Felicity Swenson.

A high noon trial will be held on Friday on the lawn between the Fortuna Library and the Chamber of Commerce office located on 14th Street. The kidnapped tourists will be tried for their crimes and sentenced to "hang" around Fortuna for the weekend compliments of the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce.

"Usually we try and find the tourists a couple days ahead of time to convince them to stay through the weekend," said Chamber of Commerce CEO Erin Dunn. The kidnapped tourists become the chamber's guests for two nights and are driven everywhere for events by chamber members.

After trial the 'hanged' tourists will be treated to lunch at a local restaurant. Their evening will be full of Motorsports night at the rodeo with a traditional rodeo dinner at one of the many food booths.

On Saturday, the couple will be escorted by their chamber host to the Fortuna Kiwanis pancake breakfast at the Rohner Park cook shack preparing them for the jailed ride with their floozies through the "Dancing with the Steers" Rodeo Parade held at noon down Main Street and Fortuna Boulevard. After the parade, chamber hosts will escort them to the Rodeo for some high action events.

Saturday evening will give the exhausted kidnapped tourists a chance to relax during the co-hosted chamber and Fortuna Rodeo Association Cowboy Mixer and Native Sons of the Golden West barbecue. Finally, the couple can kick up their heels to the beat of The Rupert Duncan Band at the Fireman's Pavilion Rodeo Dance from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Sunday the couple is welcome to continue with rodeo events or head out of town free of their charges to 'hang' around Fortuna.

Dunn shares, "The idea is to give tourists a deeper introduction to what Fortuna has to offer." Dunn continues, "Over the past five years we have had several of the tourists come back the next year to vacation. Last year's couple had such a great time they are returning this year for the AutoXpo."

For more information on the "kidnapped tourist" tradition and events, contact Fortuna Chamber of Commerce CEO Erin Dunn at 725-3959.