Anyone who ventured into Floyd over the weekend found heavy traffic, lots of people on the streets and the sound of cash registers ringing in stores along Main and Locust Streets.
Spillover from the fall color seekers on the parkway filled the parking lots.
Floyd has become a tourist destination and the dreams of those who have sought to bring visitors’ dollars to the town appear to have come true.
While some may argue that tourism is bad, the money spent by visitors clearly helps the county’s economy and debating the merits or pitfalls is moot at this point. Floyd is a tourist town, spurred by the music, the art, the mountains and the zeal of those who sample country life — be it real or manufactured.
The Crooked Road brings people to Floyd. So does FloydFest and the Friday Night Jamboree.
Articles in national publications like USA Today don’t hurt — unless you don’t want people discovering Floyd — and there are some out there who don’t.
Besides the economic gain, the biggest byproduct of the increase of visitors is traffic — lots of traffic.
On some days it can take four or more cycles of Floyd’s only stop light to clear the intersection of U.S. 221 or Virginia Rte. 8. Turning left out of some parking lots in town is a study in patience and/or frustration.
We can debate the pros and cons of tourism until the cows come home but — to continue the cliches — that horse has left the barn.
This is not your father’s Floyd.
And it never will be again.