Welcome Hudson Valley! This is Conor Walsh, host of In Touch, Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley’s Award-Winning Public Affairs and Issues program.  

Melaine Rottkamp from Dutchess Tourism returns this week! Dutchess County played a critical role in the Revolutionary War. In the spirit of the legend himself, Dutchess Tourism launched Commander in Cheers — an augmented reality experience that serves up a pint-sized George Washington to share a story about Dutchess County’s revolutionary endeavors. 

YouTube / Dutchess Tourism Inc.
YouTube / Dutchess Tourism Inc.

We invite you to join us and listen to a previously recorded conversation between Melaine Rottkamp and myself here on In Touch. 


This has been this week’s edition of IN TOUCH, the award-winning public affairs and issues program that runs across Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley radio stations. We want to give a big thank you to Melaine Rottkamp. To learn more about the awesome things happening around Dutchess County, visit Dutchesstourism.com 


Innovative Augmented Reality Campaign Brings George Washington to Life

Dutchess County’s Revolutionary War Impact Highlighted

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) announced the launch of Commander in Cheers, an innovative augmented reality initiative aimed at sparking new engagement with the Revolutionary War history of Dutchess County, kicking off a multiyear celebration of the United States of America’s Semiquincentennial on July 4, 2026.

YouTube / Dutchess Tourism Inc.
YouTube / Dutchess Tourism Inc.


This innovative project will spotlight the roles Dutchess County played in the Revolutionary War and highlight its contributions to American history. The campaign represents a collaborative effort between DTI, Dutchess County Historian William P. Tatum III, Ph.D., technology partner Evercoast and DTI’s agency of record, FourthIdea, to create an immersive experience that educates, entertains, and inspires visitors of all ages.

Dutchess Tourism President & CEO Melaine Rottkamp noted, “We are always striving to reach new heights in our branding, marketing and promotional efforts, and exciting initiatives like this help us remain competitive.” She added, “By utilizing this advanced technology to bring our past to life here in the present, we can also engage our residents and get them excited about our county’s history.”

To bring this experience to life, New York City-based Evercoast was brought on board. The company used their pioneering AI-enabled digital capture and rendering of high-fidelity yet cost-effective 3D volumetric video for the Commander in Cheers shoot. The finished product was a photorealistic output of a 3D digital George Washington in motion for Dutchess Tourism’s immersive digital experience delivered through mobile augmented reality.

Portraying Washington is John Koopman III, who has appeared in reenactments throughout the northeast, Virginia and South Carolina and was filmed for documentaries including the Mount Vernon Revolutionary War 4D Experience film (2017), "The American Revolution" (American Heroes Channel, 2014), and "America" (in theaters, 2014). For this project, he was brought into a specialized green screen studio surrounded by twenty-one high-definition cameras. The images were stitched together, going beyond flat two-dimensional video, to create a fully fleshed-out three-dimensional Washington. A behind-the-scenes video of the making of Commander in Cheers can be viewed on DTI’s YouTube channel here.  

The community is invited to participate in this immersive experience by going to designated pubs, restaurants and other locations in Dutchess County. By using a mobile device and scanning a QR code on specially-marked coasters, DTI’s virtual George Washington — also known as Tiny George — will appear to share a story about one of Dutchess County’s revolutionary endeavors. Visitors can travel to six different areas in the county to activate these six tales.

Participating Locations for Commander in Cheers in Dutchess County:

  1. Poughkeepsie Area Locations: 1915 Wine Bar, King's Court Brewing Company, Mill House Brewing Company, Schatzi's Pub & Bier Garden, Zeus Brewing Company
  2. Rhinebeck Area Locations: The Kroeg, The Tavern at Beekman Arms, Red Bistro at Terrapin
  3. Fishkill Area Locations: Boutique Wines, Spirits and Ciders, Curry Estate, Sloop Brewing @ The Factory, Treasury Cider at Fishkill Farms
  4. Millbrook Area Locations: Babette’s Kitchen, Charlotte's, Millbrook Vineyards & Winery
  5. Wassaic Area Locations: Four Brothers Drive-In, The Millerton Inn, Tenmile Distillery
  6. Pawling Area Locations: McKinney & Doyle Corner Bakery & Fine Foods Cafe

FourthIdea Principal and Chief Creative Officer Thomas Mooney said, "The FourthIdea team is privileged and grateful to have supported Dutchess Tourism while developing the Commander in Cheers campaign. This innovative program transcends the static pages of history and brings the County’s prominent role in the Revolutionary War to life in the most unexpected place — your neighborhood pub or restaurant. But this isn't just about entertainment. It's about commemorating Dutchess County’s legacy — and fostering a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made throughout the Hudson Valley in the eighteenth century — sacrifices that required great courage and ultimately gave America the chance to prosper."

YouTube / Dutchess Tourism Inc.
YouTube / Dutchess Tourism Inc.

Ben Nunez, co-founder & CEO of Evercoast expressed, “We're excited to see how visitors react to having a 3D digital George Washington appear in front of them as though he was actually there in real life! What a fantastic and fun use case of the technology.”

As the nation begins to commemorate its history leading up to and beyond its 250th birthday, DTI will be showcasing local stories and helping to bridge the gap between the past and the present. Look for upcoming events and promotional campaigns as they are announced at www.commanderincheers.com.


Thank you for all the kind words shared in regard to In Touch officially being awarded the 2023 New York State Broadcasters Association Award for “Outstanding Public Affairs Program or Series,” as part of the 57th Annual Excellence in Broadcasting Awards. This recognition would not be possible without the incredible team here at Townsquare, all our phenomenal guests that we learn from and grow with every single week, and of course you, the listener! Whether you’ve been listening for a while, or you just found us, thank you for taking part in the conversation and staying In Touch with what’s going on in the Hudson Valley. 

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 I’ve been your host, Conor Walsh. Until next time, stay curious, keep an open mind, and as always, I’m glad we get to Spend Some Time.  

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