ESCANABA – After it was announced that the word “Yooper” was going into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Steve Parks started receiving media calls from all over the country. Parks lobbied for 12 years to have the word added to the dictionary after losing a challenge on the word in a game of Scrabble.
“I’ve been contacted by media from throughout Michigan and even got a call from the Wall Street Journal,” Parks said. “I expected that this would have some regional interest, people in the U.P. would be excited about it. I had no idea it would garner so much attention not only in Michigan but across the United States.”
One of the media calls was from a reporter with the Huffington Post who wrote about why you might want to be a Yooper.
Andy Heller, a columnist downstate who grew up in Escanaba, spoofed that maybe Yoopers shouldn’t care but Parks feels the story will have an impact at least on the tourism industry in the U.P.
“Given the Huffington Post article, I really do expect that there may be people that will come here because of that article. I also think it would peak the interest of people in Lower Michigan who were inundated with this information who might say we need to go up there and check this place out,” said Parks.
T-shirt companies were quick to jump on the notoriety. There are several U.P. companies that are selling Yooper in the dictionary T-shirts. It includes the Delta Chamber of Commerce who is selling the T-shirts that were worn during the announcement that “Yooper” was being officially recognized.