Writer’s Tweet about Roanoke spurs support for the Star City

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 4:47 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Overnight, a Tweet from a New York writer turned Roanoke into a trending topic, spurring a discussion that includes the Governor and Stephen King.

Around 2 o’clock Monday afternoon, New York writer Emily Nussbaum was watching the Dating Game. At 2:22 p.m. she tweeted about it.

“Just watched an episode of The Dating Game in which the prize was a trip to glamorous… Roanoke, Va.,” she Tweeted. “That seems more like a punishment.”

Nussbaum forecasted the reaction she was about to get, which includes hundreds of tweets, retweets, quote tweets, memes, angry rebuttals and a lot of pictures.

Not to mention replies from writer Stephen King and the Governor.

“You can’t pay for this type of organic traffic,” said Catherine Fox, vice president of public affairs & destination development at Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

Fox said VisitVBR also chimed in on the conversation, hoping to show Nussbaum, and all of Twitter, the high points of the Roanoke Valley.

“No matter who visits here you’re going to fall in love with this area,” she said, heralding its natural beauty and opportunity for recreation.

Fox says Roanoke has always been beautiful, but has indeed transformed a lot since Karen Carpenter made her Dating Game Appearance in the 1970s.

Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge is capitalizing on the newfound spotlight, hoping to continue the conversation on its social media platforms, which saw an engagement increase of about 30 percent in 2020, Fox reported.

Not only that, but a new report from the Roanoke Regional Partnership suggests Roanoke’s population growth from 2019 to 2020 quadrupled the average annual rate over the last decade.

“This bodes well for economic development, for our medical field and just for being more attractive on a whole ‘nother playing field,” Fox said.

Brian Wells, general manager of the Hotel Roanoke, is also reveling in the support of the online defenders of the Star City.

“Well, it’s fantastic,” he said Tuesday.

His hotel is offering a free overnight stay Romance Package, awarded to a randomly selected user who comments on its Facebook page. They plan to announce the lucky winner Valentines Day.

“Well it’s fun, first of all,” he said. “...if anybody doesn’t know enough about the Hotel Roanoke and Roanoke, Virginia to comment on the region, we think they deserve an introduction! And we’re happy to host that, that’s what we’re here to do.”

While Virginia is for lovers, it might not be for everyone.

Though the Star City seems intent on showing the world just how brightly it can shine.

Note: WDBJ7 did reach out to the writer on Tuesday with an invitation for an interview. She declined.

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