While they wait for their meals to appear, many diners in Carroll County restaurants read those little red table tents.
The tents are paper brochures, folded into triangles and placed at mid-table or over there by the salt and pepper. Restaurant owners say the tents are becoming as popular as menus.
The county Office of Tourism developed the tents to tout local holiday happenings and offered them to fast food and formal restaurants. A quick read lets diners know what to do and where to go after their meals.
"We did 1,000 of them for holiday events and figured we would never use them all," said Joan Meekins, director of the Office of Tourism. "Now, we are nearly out."
Masci Restaurants, owners of the Roy Rogers restaurants here, asked for 500 brochures. Diners can also find them at Maggie's and the Westminster Inn.
"It is an inexpensive way to advertise coming events, and it is working," said Ms. Meekins at the Tourism Association's meeting yesterday.
Ms. Meekins asked association members for suggestions for next year's programs.
"Like every government agency, we are facing drastic cuts," she said. "We are trying to remain a dues-free organization, which will continue to keep costs minimal and provide programs."
The association also is collecting donations of soap and paper products for the Neighbors in Need program. Members can drop off items at the Tourism Information Center at 210 East Main St., Westminster.
"We are in the hospitality industry and in the business of treating visitors well," she said. "Let's treat our needy as well."