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.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will host a candlelight vigil of remembrance and hope Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at the University of Richmond, outside the Cannon Chapel. The public is invited to attend and join MADD to honor victims of impaired driving crashes, while helping to remind the community to be safe during the holidays. > Read more.
Among participants at the Seventh Annual Coordinators2Inc Golf Tournament and awards luncheon Oct. 3 were (from left) Rebecca Ricardo, C2 Inc executive director; Kevin Derr, member of the winning foursome; Sharon Richardson, C2 Inc founder; and Frank Ridgway and Jon King, members of the winning foursome.
Held at The Crossings Golf Club, the tournament will benefit placement of children from Virginia's foster care system into permanent families through Coordinators2. > Read more.
Event will help kick of Marine Corps' 'Toys for Tots' campaign
All 140 A.C. Moore locations will serve as drop-off centers this year for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, and all toys collected will stay in the local communities served by the stores in which they are donated.
On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Willow Lawn location will kick off the month-long program by hosting a "Make & Take" craft event for kids. Children ages six and older will be able to make a craft and take it home with them. Representatives from the Marines will be in-store to teach customers about the Toys for Tots program. A.C. Moore team members will be on site to help with the crafts. > Read more.
The Dominion GardenFest of Lights Grand Illumination takes place tonight at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden! This year’s theme is “A Legacy in Lights: 120 Years from Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden,” which celebrates the Garden’s history. You can also celebrate Thanksgiving again – tomorrow at Henricus Historical Park. More great events – Lavender Fields Herb Farm and Wilton House Museum will both host their holiday open house events this weekend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6,’ lovable robot Baymax delight
It may be time for Olaf to step down as our nation’s reigning cartoon character. Big Hero 6, the latest animated feature from Disney, contains a challenger to the throne: Baymax (Scott Adsit), another lovably chubby white wonder, who will bring joy to children’s hearts and invade every home in America inside a six-foot pile of Disney merchandise.
Big Hero 6 (based ever so slightly on a Marvel comic of the same name) is the story of Baymax – and also his closest companion Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter). And then also their four friends, all of whom join together to form the titular superhero team.
At first, though, it’s only Hiro, a young boy and an engineering prodigy, who’d rather spend his time in underground robot fight clubs than do something productive with his gifts. > Read more.
Bella’s feels – and tastes – like Italy should
Short Pump is known for its share of chain restaurants and strip malls, but diners looking for something more distinct can certainly find it without heading downtown or to nearby Charlottesville.
In fact, local husband-and-wife restaurateurs Valeria Bisenti and Doug Muir brought a taste of Charlottesville (and Italy) to Short Pump when they took a chance and opened Bella’s second location in the same shopping strip as Wal-Mart and Peter Chang China Cafe. (Bella’s original location is on Main Street in downtown Charlottesville.)
For a local Italian restaurant, Bella’s is as “Mom and Pop” as its gets. Valeria is Mom, and Doug is Pop. Since its opening about six months ago, diners have been eating rich comfort foods and drinking Italian wines. > Read more.
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