— Author Unknown
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland must have been fumbling through an Atlas and stopped on “Kansas” when he opted to launch a branding contest in which he wants creative imaginations to come up with a nickname or slogan for the city of Cleveland while incorporating the collective spirit of Bradley County.
The winner, as selected by a panel of judges, will receive a thousand bucks. Not a bad take-home for a few minutes of think-tanking. Your deadline is Sept. 30. Let the juices flow.
Here’s the third installment in our look across America at what others have done.
Toto, we’re not in Kansas any more, but I never was — not even remotely close — so we’ll start there today.
Several towns in Kansas have been graced with memorable tags by creative Kansans. For instance, Andover offers the longest name I’ve seen so far in this identity search, “Where the People are Warm Even When the Weather Isn’t.” I’m not sure what a prairie chicken looks like — maybe something like a Southeast Tennessee farm chicken — but Cassoday, Kan., calls itself, “The Prairie Chicken Capital of the World.”
Cawker City, Kan., lives by a thread as evidenced by its nickname, “Home of the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.” Can’t wait. Most have heard of Dodge City, Kan., but you might not know a couple of its tags, “Queen of the Cowtowns” and “The Wickedest Little City in America.” Marshall Dillon, where are you when we need you? Probably out smoking guns. Or spending time with Miss Kitty.
Jennings, Kan., must have an Eastern European ancestry judging from its slogan, “Czech Us Out.”
Other Kansas towns are just as innovative. Lansing is “City With a Future,” Liberal is “The Land of Oz,” Quinter is “Half Mile High City” (thank you, very much Denver) and Russell Springs is “Cow Chip Capital of Kansas.” Windom obviously is a friendly village by virtue of its “Covered Dish Capital of the World.”
Oh yeah, Manhattan, Kan., is “The Little Apple,” not to be confused with “The Mini Apple,” as referenced last week via Minneapolis.
On to Louisiana. We’ll get to New Orleans in a minute; that town has half-a-million nicknames. Here are a few lesser known Bayou towns. Breaux Bridge bills itself the “Crayfish Capital of the World,” but for those not familiar with crayfish, Breaux Bridgers also call themselves the “Crawfish Capital of the World.” By any name, the claw pinches just as tight.
I like the Dubach label. This town is the “Dogtrot Capital of the World.” Gonzales and Gueydan are the “Jambalaya” and “Duck” capitals of the world respectively. Jennings is the “Cradle of Louisiana Oil.” Rayne likes its amphibians, as evidenced by the title, “Frog Capital of the World.”
And now for New Orleans. Where do we start? Assuming that some of these are “official” nicknames, some are “unofficial” and some are somebody’s visionary flare on a hard Saturday night on the French Quarter, let’s just start rattling off a few. The most recognized identities for New Orleans are “The Big Easy,” “The Crescent City” and “The Queen of the Mississippi.”
These Saints fans also dub themselves “America’s Most European City,” “Birthplace of Jazz,” “City of the Chefs,” “City of Mystery,” “Mardi Gras City,” “Nawlins,” “Paris of the South” and “Queen City of the South.” Remember too, New Orleans stakes claim to being “New York of the South.” Just like Atlanta. Just like Charleston, S.C.
Bangor, Maine, is a queen, as referenced by “The Queen City of the East.” Maine also has a few capitals. Cherryfield is the “Blueberry Capital of the World.” Farmington is the “Earmuff Capital of the World.” Rockland is the “Lobster Capital of the World.” Get it? Rock ... lobster? Never mind. Another Maine town, named Strong, is the “Toothpick Capital of the World.” Obviously, they make strong toothpicks.
Maryland too is well wrapped in identity. Annapolis is “Crabtown,” but my research indicates this is a reference to the seafood, not the people. Hagerstown is “Maryland’s Gateway to the West” and Baltimore has more nicknames than the late John Unitas had touchdown passes. “B-More,” as some call it, also is known as “Charm City,” “The City of Firsts,” “The City That Reads” and arguably its most humble tag is, “The Greatest City in America.”
Not to be outdone, Minnesota has multiple personalities. Austin is “Spamtown U.S.A.” Bemidji is “First City on the Mississippi” although the point is debatable for those standing on the Gulf Coast. Hanover is “The Little City on the Crow” and Hermantown is “The City of Quality Living.” I could find no reference to Hermantown being a sister city to Tennessee’s Germantown.
Also in Minnesota, International Falls is “The Icebox of the United States,” and Minneapolis is the “City of Flour and Sawdust,” as well as “The Mini Apple.” New Ulm is “The City of Charm and Tradition” and Montgomery is the “Kolacky Capital of the World.” I don’t know exactly what a Kolacky is; word on Main Street is it’s a form of fruit pastry of Czech or Slovakian descent.
More towns and imaginations to come.
We’ll pick up next with “The Magnolia State” — Mississippi.
(Editor’s Note: Submit Cleveland entries by mail to Cleveland Contest, Office of the Mayor, City of Cleveland, 190 Church St. N.E., Cleveland, TN 37311; or email them to email@example.com.)