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.
Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.
YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.
The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.
Enjoy the final days of summer with comedian Guy Torry, the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour or mystery writer Mary Miley Theobald at Twin Hickory Library. Another great way to welcome the beginning of fall is to check out the UR Spider Football season opener with man’s best friend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.
The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.
As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.
The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen is now registering participants for its fall 2014 schedule of classes.
The center will offer more than 100 classes for children and adults, covering topicssuch as culinary arts, fiber arts, visual and performance arts and more. Instruction is structured to appeal to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts of all ages. Class sizes are kept small to ensure maximum benefit for participants with generally no more than 15 students. > Read more.
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