Governor Noem tweeted Wednesday that “South Dakota leads the nation in tourism fgrowth because we respect our people, their rights, and their freedoms.” That blurb was a warm-up for her big Friday propaganda piece on South Dakota tourism, which itself is a warm-up for National Travel and Tourism Week next week.
The Governor’s much-espoused love of Freedom™ (which is code for, “We’d rather make a buck on tourism than prevent deaths from coronavirus) explains how she got the organizers of Freedom Fest to abandon Las Vegas and hold their 2021 libertarian rally in Rapid City. Noem got to speak there, as did Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, which Noem has put in charge of rewriting South Dakota’s social studies standards.
But South Dakota’s respect for rights and freedoms must have only a fleeting pull on the Freedom Festers. Even though the racist Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City has been promoting Freedom Fest continually (most recently just four days ago, on April 25) in its cycle of Twitter tourism posts, Freedom Fest won’t be bringing the Grand Gateway or any other Black Hills hotelier any business this year. Freedom Fest is going back to Vegas this year:
Freedom Fest 2022 is planned for July 13 through July 16 in Las Vegas at the luxurious Mirage, where rooms range from $79 Tuesday night, July 12, to $371 Friday night, July 15, with an additional $39 resort fee each night (though Freedom Fest can get you special event rates ranging from $98 Tuesday night to $178 on Friday night and knock $10 off each night’s resort fee). That’s in addition to the $499 pre-registration rate available through June 30.
Maybe Freedom Fest just wanted to pop back to Las Vegas for one last shindig at The Mirage before Hard Rock Entertainment, which is buying the place for $1.075 billion, bulldozes the volcano out front and remodels it into who-knows-what. Then the Freedom Festers will flock back to South Dakota where they discovered all that Freedom™ from Censorship and Statism and Taxation that Kristi Noem offers.
Or maybe “freedom” as a lasting tourism draw was the real mirage….