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 Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.
The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)
The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.
For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.
The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.
The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.
Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.
‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise
Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.
They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.
As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.
Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.
There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?
Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din. > Read more.
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