Allyson Bussey embraces the role of being Stark County’s cheerleader.

As the president of Visit Canton, Bussey uses her energetic personality, her love of history, marketing and people, as well as her more than 15 years in the travel and tourism industry, to be Stark County’s megaphone for all places, people and attractions that lure tourists to visit Stark County and may encourage residents to explore more of their hometown.

Bussey, who was indeed a cheerleader at Massillon Washington High School and now travels the state and beyond supporting her cheerleading daughter, joined the county tourism bureau in October 2007 and served as the bureau’s tourism marketing manager, assistant director and interim executive director before becoming the president in March 2016.

Over the past year, Bussey has guided the transformation of what formerly was known as the Stark County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau as it not only took on the new Visit Canton name, but it also adjusted to becoming its own nonprofit organization that is independent of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce for the first time in its nearly 40-year history.

The bureau focuses on driving economic growth and serving as a local expert in travel and tourism. It supports a travel and tourism industry that generates more than $1.7 billion dollars in annual sales and supports more than 14,000 full-time jobs in Stark County (that’s more than 8 percent of the county’s overall employment).

If Bussey’s not traveling for work, she’s usually traveling in the family’s camper with husband, Jason, and daughter, Avery, as they retreat to their favorite relaxing spot, the Hidden Acres Campground in West Salem.

BUSSEY’S LOCAL PICKS:

Restaurants:
“Basil is my favorite Asian restaurant, and I would guess I eat there almost weekly. Twisted Olive is my date night favorite, and I applaud their amazing gluten-free menu! My family favorite would be a tie between Taggart’s Ice Cream or B&K Café.”

Lunch spot:
“George’s Lounge on Wednesdays—$5 burgers!”

Spot to grab a drink:
“Picciano’s is my favorite. It has a great vibe, and the selection of martinis is stellar!”

Coffee shop:
“This is impossible; I have a coffee obsession. So top three—Anderson’s in the City, Carpe Diem and Muggswigz.”

Place to shop:
“Hartville MarketPlace is my favorite place to shop. You can find ANYTHING!!! I consider myself a DIY weekend warrior—probably because I watch too much HGTV—so the Hartville MarketPlace is a PARADISE for cool stuff I can transform. Plus, the food and fashion—I mean you can find it ALL!”

Entertainment spot:
“The Canton Palace Theatre for its events and movies, or, in the warmer months, you can find us on the patio at Gervasi Vineyard.”

Exercise spot:
“We walk the Towpath trail, it’s so peaceful and beautiful. You forget that you are EXERCISING.”

Local event:
“First Friday—I love the energy and the diversity of the crowd and that I can walk around with a cocktail, thanks to the DORA!”

Place to take the kids:
“My daughter’s favorite place has always been McKinley Presidential Library & Museum. She loves the Street of Shops, and of course the animatronic dinosaur. Now that she’s approaching her teen years, her favorite place is Belden Village Mall.”

Volunteer opportunity:
“There are so many amazing volunteer opportunities and worthy causes to support, from United Way to the Stark County Hunger Task Force—they all need volunteers. I spend a lot of my volunteer time as a volunteer for Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week. It takes over 4,000 volunteers to power all of the events, and it is a GREAT way to get involved during the region’s most exciting week.”