Region seeks to capitalize on Civil War anniversary
History brings thousands of visitors to the Greater Richmond region each year, and local officials are hoping that the confluence of two significant historical milestones this year will help attract even more.
Members of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission (RRPDC) discussed how the region plans to capitalize on the 150th anniversary of the start of the four-year Civil War this year – a milestone anniversary that coincides with Henrico County's 400th anniversary.
Henrico and other localities in the region are home to a plethora of Civil War battlefields, museums, monuments and parks – all of which could attract more tourists than normal this year.
In a recent survey of tourists, nearly 70 percent of respondents stated that visiting historic sites was one of their primary activities while visiting the Richmond area, while just more than 62 percent cited visiting Civil War Sites as one of their primary activities.
“Civil War history is a major part of our brand [as a region]” said Jack Berry, CEO and president of the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau (RMCVB).
The RMCVB has gone to great lengths in recent months to advertise the Richmond region as well as the Civil War anniversary to people living outside the area.
For example, the RMCVB ran a full-page ad in USA Today this past April that appeared in copies of the national newspaper distributed throughout the Eastern United States, a region that accounts for about 68 percent of the Richmond area’s visitors.
Additionally, the RMCVB bought ad space near the Smithsonian exit of the DC Metro earlier this year to advertise the region.
Another key component in the Richmond area’s efforts to capitalize on the Civil War’s 150th anniversary is Civil War Trails, a company based in Richmond that maintains Civil War landmarks in the states of Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania. In the state of Virginia alone, Civil War Trails, which traces it origins to 1994, operates and preserves 394 Civil War sites located in 95 jurisdictions throughout the state.
Here in Henrico, county officials have made their own efforts to organize in advance of the increased tourism expected not only for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, but also for the 400th anniversary of Henrico County.
Last September, Henrico opened up its new tourism information center at the Dabbs House Museum on Nine Mile Road to aid visitors to the county from both near and far. The county also is hosting or co-hosting a number of commemorative events throughout the year.
“We recently had a few people visit Henrico from as far away as [the country of] Malta,” said Tuckahoe District Supervisor Pat O’Bannon, who represents Henrico on the RRPDC.
For details about the Civil War anniversary as well as other destinations in the area, visit http://www.visitRichmondVA.com http:,//www.OntoRichmond.com, http://www.Henrico400th.com or http://www.HistoricRoute1.com.
The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.
Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.
The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.
Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.
The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.
An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.
A Henrico native will appear on the third episode of the Travel Channel's new grilling competition series “American Grilled.”
The episode, filmed in Charlottesville, will premier July 16 at 9 p.m. and feature Glen Allen-native Rex Holmes, a patent lawyer who operates http://SavoryReviews.com a blo,g centered around tasty recipes and BBQ.
The show features hardcore grilling enthusiasts from across the country going head-to-head for a chance to compete for a $10,000 cash prize and bragging rights when they are crowned the ultimate “grill master.” > Read more.
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