Historical Announcement There’s an old saying in advertising: “50 percent of my advertising expense is wasted. I just don’t know which 50 percent.” The old adage proved less than accurate recently, when sponsors of the Summer Food, Wine & Micro-Brew Fest were able to point to precisely which portion of their advertising had been wasted. It was an ad that ran in the June 27 issue of the Los Angeles Times. The problem? The festival took place on June 22. The errant ad sent phones ringing at the Valley Cultural Center, according to Deborah Kimbrough, the office manager, who added that she did not know what caused the mixup. Another festival insider, however, pointed the blame at a communications breakdown. “The art people weren’t talking to the ad people,” said the insider, who asked not to be identified. The festival, sponsored by Westfield Shoppingtown Topanga along with the Los Angeles Times and Warner Center Properties, included 21 restaurants, wineries and microbreweries along with live entertainment. Proceeds went to benefit the Valley Cultural Center. Happily, three other, more timely ads had run before the event, sending more than 300 visitors to the festival, according to Janine Baker, marketing director for Westfield Shoppingtown, which held the event in its Canoga Park shopping center. Oh Say Can You Grill Forget apple pie. Most folks think of hot dogs and hamburgers when they think about all-American fare. That’s the conclusion of Macerich Co., which recently surveyed 4,500 shoppers nationwide to take the pulse on patriotism as the Independence Day holiday approached. Santa Monica-based Macerich, which owns the Panorama Mall among other shopping centers, reported that 45 percent of the shoppers surveyed thought there’s nothing more American than dogs and burgers, while only 42 percent of those surveyed gave their vote to apple pie. A Maze-ing Attraction This summer, Six Flags Magic Mountain unveiled its newest roller coaster, Goliath, an 85-mph ride that shoots up to heights of 255 feet during its three-minute run. But if that’s too much of an adrenaline rush, there’s a new attraction in the San Fernando Valley. The Lost Adventures Corn Maze opened this month in Van Nuys. The maze provides tourists and residents with miles of corn stalks to roam through on eight acres near Woodley Park. “We saw one in Central California and thought, ‘Gosh dang, it seems like a good idea,'” said Greg Cole, one of the owners of Lost Adventures. “We leased the land from Parks and Rec and planted the corn and now we’re up and running.” In case anyone gets lost, the maze includes a 15-foot-tall guard tower and workers stationed throughout the maze with walkie talkies. Of course, the Valley already has its share of attractions there’s Universal Studios to the east, Magic Mountain to the north, arboretums and studio tours. But maze promoters say Lost Adventures offers something the others don’t. Lost Adventures awards weekly prizes to the person who makes it through the maze the fastest. So far, the time to beat is 35 minutes, but Cole said as the corn grows, the maze will become more difficult and the time to maneuver through will get longer. Losing to Dallas When it comes to business travel destinations, L.A. is running in the middle of the pack, according to a recent survey by Runzheimer International. With 46 percent of business travelers surveyed citing L.A. as one of their top 10 travel destinations, the city comes in ahead of New York City (41 percent) and San Francisco (34 percent), but trails Chicago (66 percent), Dallas (41 percent) and Atlanta (47 percent). Chicago and Atlanta both have bigger convention centers than L.A., so it makes sense they would attract more business travelers, according to L.A. Convention & Visitors Bureau spokeswoman Carol Martinez. But how does Dallas outrank L.A.? The Texas town has a smaller convention center. “Maybe they did a real good job marketing themselves,” Martinez said. Hail to the Vice Chief They may not be hosting any state delegations during the upcoming Democratic National Convention, but the two L.A.-area Ritz Carlton hotels still plan to grab a piece of the action. The establishments in Pasadena and Marina del Rey are preparing a host of amenities designed around a “You Can Call Me Al” theme, as in Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore. Each day of the convention, guests will find in their rooms an “Al” amenity: alphabet cookies, Altoids (no Clinton jokes please), Tennessee ale, and almonds. At the bar, guests can sip red, white or blue martinis. And in the lobby of the Marina del Rey Ritz Carlton will be a 5-foot-tall, white-chocolate replica of the White House. “We wanted to do something fun and creative for the convention,” said Ritz Carlton spokeswoman Sheena Stephens.