NEWS IN BRIEF
Sailabration propels tourism, business in Baltimore region
The Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and dozens of partner organizations set their sights high with a free June 13-19 international maritime festival that would launch the national commemoration of the War of 1812 bicentennial. They forged the event that became known as Star-Spangled Sailabration, and people — hundreds of thousands of them — did come. Even the weather was spectacular.
Forty-six ships from 12 nations sailed into Baltimore on Wednesday, June 13. The next day, people lined up for the start of a week of free tours of the vessels. On Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels headlined an air show that had thousands spellbound looking into the skies over South Baltimore. And, on Sunday evening, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performed a world premiere of Philip Glass's new symphony for the occasion, Overture for 2012.
"It's the busiest tourism weekend we've had, perhaps ever," said Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, the city's visitor and convention bureau, in an interview with the Baltimore Sun. "It was just a massive showcase weekend for the city. Everywhere you went there were masses of people. It's hard to compare it to anything."
The Sun also reported that Sailabration yielded record business for many merchants near Baltimore's harbor.
A report on visitation numbers and the economic impact of Sailabration will be released in the fall. Event officials say it will take time to assemble data for a seven-day event — which occurred at multiple locations across Baltimore, including the Inner Harbor, Fell's Point and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. A Sailabration aircraft display and festival were also held at Martin State Airport in Baltimore County.
Musician receives NEA award for traditional artists
Mike Auldridge, a bluegrass and country musician from Montgomery County, has received one of nine 2012 National Heritage Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The fellowships honor folk and traditional artists for their artistic excellence and efforts to conserve American culture. Each fellowship also includes a one-time $25,000 award.
"As one of America's most treasured and important bluegrass musicians, Mike Auldridge has woven threads of Maryland's heritage into the broader fabric of the nation," said Gov. Martin O'Malley. "Mike's musical style on the Dobro, and that of The Seldom Scene — the group he helped found in Bethesda during the '70s — embodies the best of Maryland's identity as innovative, yet deeply rooted."
A Dobro is an acoustic guitar with a built-in metal resonator that serves as an amplifier. Because its metal strings are over a metal plate, the instrument sounds more like a banjo than a guitar.
Auldridge, born in 1938, has recorded eight solo albums and contributed to more than 200 session recordings with a variety of artists. He joins a list of 13 Marylanders who have received National Heritage Fellowships since 1982.
Governor appoints four to tourism board
Gov. Martin O'Malley has appointed four new members to the Maryland Tourism Development Board. Board members represent the lodging, retail, transportation, food service and attractions sectors of the tourism industry. The board also has at-large members and members from the Maryland General Assembly. Here are the new appointments:
- Raymond L. Nelson, general manager, Veolia Transportation, will represent transportation on the board. He resides in Baltimore County.
- Patricia C. Heffelfinger, executive director, Maryland Soccer Foundations, will represent attractions. She is a resident of Montgomery County.
- Jim Grube, owner, Slack Winery and Woodlawn Estate Bed & Breakfast, will also represent attractions on the board. He resides in St. Mary's County.
- Winifred Roche, tourism manager, Harford County Office of Tourism, will represent Maryland Destination Marketing Organizations. She resides in Harford County.
Travel planners return to Baltimore for AIBTM
What better way to sell Maryland as a travel destination than to bring 1,400 travel planners to Baltimore for Star-Spangled Sailabration and its parade of tall ships?
Meeting and event planners from around the globe and across the nation gathered at the Baltimore Convention Center, June 19-21, for the second annual Americas Meetings & Events Exhibitions (AIBTM).
Produced by Reed Travel Exhibitions, AIBTM made its debut in Baltimore last year as the first American tradeshow in Reed's portfolio of international expositions for meeting planners. In addition to EIBTM, a well-known show held each year in Barcelona, Reed presents similar shows in Beijing, Abu Dhabi and Melbourne.
Photo: Members of Maryland destination marketing organizations assemble at AIBTM.
Ice-cream trail highlights Maryland dairy farms
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has launched Maryland's Best Ice Cream Trail — seven dairy farms in the state that sell homemade ice cream at their farms. Visitors who have their Ice Cream Passports stamped at participating farms through Labor Day will be eligible to win a Maryland's Best gift basket. Passport and trail information are online.
The seven farms are: Broom's Bloom Dairy (Harford County); Chesapeake Bay Farms (Worcester County); Kilby Cream (Cecil County); Prigel Family Creamery (Baltimore County); Rocky Point Creamery (Frederick County); South Mountain Creamery (Frederick County); and Misty Meadow Farm Creamery (Washington County).
MDA also has a related geocaching contest. Participants use hand-held GPS devices and iPhones to locate hidden caches that correspond to their Ice Cream Passports.
Annual festival showcases traditional artists in state
An array of Maryland's traditional artists performed on stage and demonstrated their crafts at the second annual Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival, June 16. The all-day event was held inside and outside the Creative Alliance at the Patterson Theatre in East Baltimore.
Performers included: Uhwachi-Reh (Native American drum & dance), Cambodian Buddhist Society (Khmer classical dance), Legendary Orioles (Doo-wop), Mexico Vivo & Mariachi Son de America (Mexican dance), Sweet Heaven Kings (Gospel shout) and Debusk-Weaver Family (Appalachian gospel). Egg painting, duck decoy painting, Mexican yarn art and quilting were the topics of some of the workshops.
Maryland Traditions is a program of the Maryland State Arts Council that documents, promotes and celebrates traditional cultures in the state.
View an article from The Washington Post about Singing and Praying bands that are keeping their centuries-old tradition alive.
Hagerstown hosts weekend of Civil War tributes
Maryland's Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (CWHA) presented the initial First Call Weekend, June 16-17 in Hagerstown. Like a bugle call that summons the troops, First Call was a time for visitors to participate in a variety of public activities and events that commemorate the Civil War sesquicentennial.
The Washington County weekend was a tribute to the 150-year anniversary of the war's Maryland Campaign. It included re-enactors, living-history exhibitions, musical performances, artillery demonstrations, tours, museum displays and a Civil War baseball game. In September, a major Civil War re-enactment — Maryland, My Maryland — will be one of the events to remember the 1862 Battles of South Mountain and Antietam.
CWHA plans two more First Call Weekends: Carroll County in 2013 and Frederick County in 2014.
Among its findings: Sales-tax revenue from tourism tax codes grew 7.9 percent over last year — more than 60 percent above the 4.9 percent rate of growth for overall sales-tax revenue through April of this fiscal year. Additionally, with an increased advertising budget, the tourism office has seen 32 percent more web-advertising responses, 5 percent more print-advertising responses and more than double the number of broadcast responses compared to the same time period last year.
Tourism tax-code revenue up by 7.9 percent
The latest issue of the Maryland Tourism Monitor — the Office of Tourism's monthly report on results for marketing, tourism-related sales taxes and leisure and hospitality jobs — is available online.
Meet 1812 personalities at live performances
Prominent historical figures from the War of 1812 era — Francis Scott Key, Mary Pickersgill, James Madison, Rosalie Stier Calvert and (British Maj. Gen.) Robert Ross — come to life in the Maryland Humanities Council's free living-history series. Now in its 18th year, the Chautauqua series runs between July 5 and July 13 at six locations across the state. Performances open with local musical and theatrical acts. Actors will respond to audience questions as their characters following each performance. Chautauqua was the name of an adult-education movement that was popular in rural America during the late-19th and early-20th centuries.
CRUSA plans seminar for global-marketing plans
Learn about Brand USA's international marketing campaign and how to participate in Capital Region USA's marketing plans for 2013 at the Capital Region USA Goes Global 2013 International Summit, July 24 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Northern Virginia. Call or e-mail Kimberly Petersen, 804-562-0168, for registration information.
Spurs, Reds bring international soccer to Baltimore
M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, hosts an international soccer match, Saturday, July 28 at 1 p.m., between two popular teams in England's Barclays Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and Liverpool Football Club. The two teams have never played in this region of the U.S. before. Tickets, which start at $36 for an end-zone seat, are available online through Ticketmaster. Groups of 20 or more can call the Ravens Ticket Office, 410-261-RAVE (7283), to acquire discounted tickets. The match is the first part of a day-night doubleheader for sports fans in Baltimore. At 7:05 p.m., the Orioles play the Oakland Athletics at nearby Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Grand Prix of Baltimore tickets on sale
General admission tickets are $15 for Friday, Aug. 31, $50 for Saturday, Sept. 1, $55 for the day of the race, Sunday, Sept. 2. A three-day general admission ticket is $85. Reserved seat packages, which include reserved seating on Saturday and Sunday, are also available. Single-day reserved tickets go on sale July 15. Paddock passes — $40 for one day, $65 for three days — give fans access into the Baltimore Convention Center to see race cars and crews.
Tickets for the Grand Prix of Baltimore — Labor Day weekend — are available on the race's web site (www.RaceOnBaltimore.com) through Ticketmaster. Orders can also be placed by calling Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000. Last year, more than 150,000 fans attended the first-ever Grand Prix race in the city.