Small Town's 'Cryptosporidium Daze' Fails To Attract Visitors

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Vol 41 Issue 28

Kleenex Box Inadequately Covered

EMPORIA, KS—Area widow Gwen Reid is said to be "crocheting frantically" following Tuesday's discovery of an uncovered Kleenex facial-tissue box in her home. "Dust is falling on the box as we speak," said Reid, struggling to complete a side panel for a pink cozy. "This is worse than the uncovered spare roll of toilet paper in the bathroom last year." In the past, Reid has knitted coverings for such once-naked items as the TV Guide, radio and grandfather clock.

Area Man Killed In Committee

NEW YORK—K&L Advertising executive Nathan Lohaus was killed in committee Monday, his life voted down by an 11-3 margin at the 2 p.m. departmental meeting. "We threw Nathan out there and discussed him at length, but in the end we decided he just wasn't viable," K&L creative director Marcus Somers said. "We had a lot of really high hopes for Nathan, and we certainly tried to make him work, passing him back and forth and letting everybody take a stab at him, but in the end he just died on the table." Somers extended his "deepest regrets" to Lohaus' wife and children.

Lone Man With Six-Pack 'Partying'

TUCSON, AZ—A party is reportedly underway at 2614 Arcadia Ave., where homeowner Glen Schlatter and no one else is enjoying a six-pack of Olympia Beer. "Yeah, I'm just out here partying," Schlatter told a friend over the phone. "You oughta come down here and join in, it's a real good time." Schlatter, well-known for throwing extremely intimate affairs on weekends, is reportedly considering a whiskey purchase, which would enable him to elevate his partying status to "hearty."

Horoscope for the week of July 13, 2005

While on a pilgrimage, you and two dozen other travelers will stop for the night at a roadside inn, where you'll all agree to pass the time by telling stories about your jobs as carpet salespeople.

National Parks Under Siege

Attendance at America's national parks has quadrupled in the past 30 years, spawning pollution and traffic problems. What do you think?
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Small Town's 'Cryptosporidium Daze' Fails To Attract Visitors

BLAKELY, GA—Blakely civic leaders were baffled last weekend as Cryptosporidium Daze, their elaborately planned summer festival celebrating the popular waterborne pathogen, failed to draw tourists to the Southwest Georgia town.

"Just as Colquitt celebrates its agricultural heritage with Watermelon Days, we wanted to host a festival that reflected the uniqueness of our community," Blakely Town Council president Jane Lyons said Monday. "When someone suggested a theme inspired by the historical event we're best known for, the Great Cryptosporidium Outbreak of 1988, we knew we had the answer."

Twelve years ago, Lyons said, a small amount of pig feces seeped into the town's municipal water supply, contaminating it with cryptosporidium. As a result, 611 citizens contracted cryptosporidiosis, an intestinal disease marked by abdominal cramps, violent diarrhea, nausea, and fever.

"If it weren't for our town's brush with cryptosporidium, the EPA never would have enacted the Surface Water Treatment Act of 1989," Lyons said. "It established drinking-water standards for the entire country—and it all started right here in Blakely!"

Much to the surprise of town-council members, unlike Colquitt's Watermelon Days and Columbia's Riverfest, which bring up to 15,000 visitors into the neighboring small towns each summer, Cryptosporidium Daze was sparsely attended.

"It's a real mystery," Lyons said. "It was a nice, sunny day, the park was filled with booths, and somebody was out there in the big foam cryptosporidium mascot outfit shaking hands with everybody. Yet, somehow, the festival flopped."

Jeremy Luchs, 9, wears the T-shirt he won as the sole youth participant in the Protozoan Parade.

The three-day event drew only seven non-residents, most of whom left shortly after arriving.

"I thought cryptosporidium was some type of flower," said Rhonda Weber, who drove to Blakely from Albany for the event. "Turns out, I was thinking of chrysanthemum."

After an outlay of nearly $4,000 for decorations, advertising, and equipment rental, Lions Club president Gary Milstead estimated that Cryptosporidium Daze brought in less than $45 in revenue.

"We had a new mascot, Crypty The Cryptosporidium, created just for the event," said Milstead, pointing to poster bearing a grinning, single-celled parasite wearing a Blakely baseball cap. "We still have plenty of T-shirts left for sale if you want one."

Even Blakely's own citizens were disinterested in the festival. A pageant to crown one lucky young Blakely girl "Cryptosporidium Queen" was canceled due to a lack of applicants.

Other poorly received events included the Name That Parasite contest, the Water Boil, the cryptosporidium-themed "haiku-off," and the Protozoan Parade, in which children could compete for prizes by dressing up as their favorite member of the phylum protozoa.

With the unpopular event behind them, some members of the town council are wondering if they selected the wrong theme.

"Maybe people just aren't as interested in cryptosporidium as they were in the late '80s," Lyons said. "Back then, if we announced a town meeting about cryptosporidium, every last person would show up. I have, however, heard a lot of buzz lately about the radon gas that was detected in some of the homes over by the railroad tracks. Well, I guess there's always next summer."

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