CITRUS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -
If Jimmy Fallon takes the bait, he could have one big fish tale to take back to New York with him.
After the folks at Citrus County's local tourism bureau heard The Tonight Show will be taping in Orlando this month, they wanted to use the allure of their area's legendary waters to create an internet legend of their own.
"We jumped at the opportunity to let him know that we were only 90 miles away and Citrus County is an equal-tourism paradise where you can swim with Manatees legally - the only place in the world," said Adam Thomas, Interim Director of the local Visitors & Convention Bureau.
Staff produced a video showing the unique things the nearby springs have to offer. They hope it's a big lure for Fallon, who has a record on playing in water. He swam in Chicago's polar plunge earlier this year and his crazy antics with guests often involve games that bring viewers back to childhood.
"I think it's necessary to have Mr. Jimmy Fallon put on a tail and race me in it," said Eric Ducharme, a Homosassa entrepreneur best known for his company The Mertailor.
That spirit landed Ducharme in the Fallon invite video too.
Long ago intrigued by the springs of his home, Ducharme started swimming as a merman and eventually created a line of mermaid tails that he now ships all over the world.
"I've worked with everybody from Saturday Night Live to Lady Gaga," he said.
So along with Fallon's open invitation comes that challenge. Those pushing for him to make the drive to Citrus County are using the hashtags #JimmyFallonVisitCitrus and #SwimWithManatees. Ducharme hopes the potential publicity brings awareness to the area as well.
"I think there's definitely a lot of attention that these areas need for environmental issues and protection issues as far as the animals and marine life go with manatees," he said. "I think it'd be wonderful for this little county of ours to get some major press."