When we pick our phones up and scroll through social media, we typically press the like button, send a message to our loved ones or even post comments about our deepest thoughts on the latest headlines.
For Vivian Tarn, paying attention to an ad while on a late-night scroll through Instagram landed her a trip to the capital city. Tarn is a film and television studio production financer.
Tarn, a California native who now lives in New York City, won a free trip for four to Topeka. More than 2,000 residents of the Big Apple entered the contest giveaway provided by Visit Topeka.
“I’d actually forgotten that I had entered it.” Tarn said. “It was very late, and I was very bored on Instagram.”
Itinerary includes historic and iconic spots in Topeka
Kate Garren, Visit Topeka executive coordinator, said she personally built the itinerary for Tarn’s weekend trip.
“We first started with a survey that I built to push out to her and her travel companions to see what exactly was a no-go or something is that is a must-see or a must-do,” Garren said.
“And things seem to just be clicking and they’re very excited about their itinerary and it’s very diverse. They’re going to be able to see a whole lot of Topeka.”
Alongside Tarn on the trip are her friends Shvonne Hasan and Allie Scott.
Over the weekend Tarn, Hasan and Scott will visit the Stormont Vail Events Center for the Dierks Bentley Gravel & Gold Tour, dine at a few local breweries and partake in festivities at Gary’s Berries. The friends will also visit the Kansas Statehouse and the historic Brown v. Board of Education.
“Something for Topeka that I think is extremely important but can sometimes be forgotten is just some of the history that is within our community,” Garren said. “With the Brown v. Board 70th anniversary coming up next year, we just really think it’s important to push that historical side out there for outsiders, so they can just see how extremely important that is as a footprint in our history.”
Tarn arrived in Topeka on Friday. She said her first impression so of Topeka is that the city is cute, and she appreciates its speed limits.
She said she is mostly excited about the fall weather in the Midwest but was shocked to find the temperatures are in the low 70s.
“I was so excited about having a cute little fall week and I was like ‘Oh, we’re going to go to this fall festival at a farm. I guess I’m going to wear shorts,” Tarn said. “It’s been very cold and rainy in New York, so my friends are all very, very excited about this weather and I’m less excited because I don’t like the sun very much. I like the rain.
“I like the clouds, but it’ll be a fun weekend. I’m excited.”
Why did a New-York resident get a free trip to Topeka?
New York City Mayor Eric Adams made jokes at Topeka’s expense on Feb. 28 during an interfaith prayer breakfast in New York City. He said that he strongly believed God decided to take “the most broken person” and elevate him to a place as the mayor of the “most powerful city on the globe.”
“He could have made me the mayor of Topeka, Kansas,” Adams said.
On Sept. 27, 2022, he insulted Kansas by saying that New York City has a brand that’s recognizable around the world, unlike Kansas. “Kansas doesn’t have a brand,” Adams said.
Many Kansans responded quickly to Adams’ comments along with Topeka Mayor Mike Padilla and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. The Capital-Journal reported in early March that Gov. Laura Kelly said Adams owed Kansas an apology.
Visit Topeka and Kansas Tourism responded by announcing March 3 they would hold a drawing to give away a trip for four to Topeka for New York City residents.
Residents of New York City — including the five boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island — were eligible for the chance to win the all-inclusive, three-day, two-night stay in Topeka.
Keishera Lately is the business reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Lately_KT.