The closest that April Anderson had been to Lodi was San Juan Capistrano and San Diego. But the Springfield, Mo., resident spent the weekend in Lodi after winning a contest sponsored by A&W Root Beer in connection with the restaurant's 90th birthday bash on Lodi Avenue.
"I hadn't heard of Lodi," Anderson said. "I've been told there is a song about Lodi."
She brought her mother, Peggy, for a VIP tour of everything Lodi. They were joined by local winners Lucy and Scott Molinari, who own Minerva's Fine Furnishings on Oak Street.
"I think it's a wonderful place. It kind of reminds me of where we're from," April Anderson said. "There is lots to see and do, and it's close to lots of other places. They have so much to offer."
After Nancy Beckman, the CEO of Visit Lodi! Conference and Visitors Bureau, picked up the visitors from Missouri on Thursday, the Andersons were treated to a spa treatment at Wine & Roses before heading to the Farmers Market and dinner at Lodi Beer Co.
"I really liked the Downtown, the Farmers Market," said April Anderson, who enjoyed talking to the farmers peddling their crops. "We got a real feel for the city there."
The Andersons also enjoyed seeing the A&W plaque, marking the site of the original A&W site on Pine Street, a half-block from the Lodi Arch. The three wineries they saw represented a new experience to them.
"I didn't realize how much work went into it," April Anderson said.
And chocolate pasta? Yep, they have it in Clements, but not in Springfield, Mo.
The Andersons were also impressed with the Gold Rush-era buildings they saw, and how green and lush it is in Lodi.
April Anderson ended up in Lodi rather unexpectedly. She is a frequent visitor to the A&W restaurant in Springfield, and she's a prolific coupon collector who loves to save money. She went to A&W's Web site looking for coupons when she saw an announcement about the Lodi A&W's 90th birthday and a possible trip to Lodi.
April wrote an essay on why she should be selected for the weekend in Lodi. She was surprised that she won because she had forgotten all about the contest. But she and her mother were off on a plane to Sacramento last Thursday, and they flew home Sunday morning.
A full weekend in LodiHere's how mother and daughter Peggy and April Anderson, of Springfield, Mo., and Lodi merchants Lucy and Scott Molinari spent their whirlwind weekend in Lodi:
- Thursday: Fly to Sacramento, spa treatment at Wine & Roses,
Farmers Market in Downtown Lodi, dinner at Lodi Beer Co.
- Friday: Breakfast at Wine & Roses, tours of Woodbridge and
Van Ruiten wineries and Chocoholics in Clements, lunch at Phillips
Farms and Michael~David Winery, private tour of the Lodi Wine &
Visitors Center, boat tour of the Mokelumne River from Lodi Lake
and a Lodi Baseball Club game at Tony Zupo Field. They threw out
the ceremonial first pitch at the game.
- Saturday: Tours of Micke Grove Zoo and the San Joaquin County
Historical Museum, box lunch at Micke Grove Park, a tour of the
World of Wonders Science Museum and the big A&W birthday bash,
featuring a live band, 200 classic cars and cake for 5,000
- Sunday: Breakfast at Wine & Roses, late-morning flight
Source: Peter Knight, A&W Root Beer
Editor's Note: This story was updated at 2:50 p.m. Monday, June 22 to correct who picked up the Andersons.