The Courier’s chief reporter in Perth, Richard Burdge, says efforts to promote the city at Christmas have the potential to benefit the whole region — if people show patience.
Were you one of the 40,000 who packed Perth city centre last weekend for the Winter Festival?
It was a joyous occasion with lessons clearly learned from the mistakes of previous years.
Some of the music may have been a blast from the past but the Fair City has its sights set firmly on the future.
Organisers did not rest after a spectacular concert and fireworks display.
The following day there was a cultural extravaganza focusing on local talent and Norie Miller Walk on the banks of the Tay was lit up in stunning fashion.
At the weekend, there was more live music and street entertainment during the Scottish Festival.
All that came in the wake of a Halloween weekend which saw the city centre thronged for two nights.
Slipping into the role of poor relation to neighbouring Dundee and Stirling came a bit too easily but, speaking to local businesses and politicians in the wake of these events, the will to launch a fightback is clear to see.
The springboard is making sure people are talking about Perth again, not as a couthy, old, day-trip town, but a bright, modern city.
There have been grumbles among some that attracting top pop acts and entertainers — at no small cost — is a waste of money and pushes local talent to the side.
They are missing the point.
Only by establishing the city’s aspirational credentials can those who depend on shoppers and tourists hope for a long-term gain from the thousands who will always turn out for a one-off event.
Something is stirring in Tayside, with the renaissance of Dundee’s waterfront leading the way, and Perth is positioning itself ideally.
If the local councils can come together to deliver a City Deals bid to the Government, there is a potential £400 million cash pot to look forward to.
Victory in the City of Culture bid will bring further benefits.
From there, the ripple effect should spread into Kinross-shire, Strathearn, Strathmore and Highland Perthshire.
Of course, aspirations can only become reality with cash backing and that will dwindle as the public spending squeeze tightens — there is already talk of scaling back the 2017 winter festivities in Perth.
That would be a shame but hopefully the platform has now been built upon which Perth and Kinross can flourish.
There is work to be done — but a clear willingness to do it.