NEWS IN BRIEF
Sailabration TV ad airing across mid-Atlantic region
U.S. Navy Blue Angel jets soar over Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine as international tall ships and naval vessels sail into Baltimore's Inner Harbor in a new animated TV commercial that is now running in regional markets. The 30-second TV spot announces the upcoming Star-Spangled Sailabration (June 13-19), which launches Maryland's three-year War of 1812 bicentennial commemoration.
Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism, said the commercial and its airing is a joint venture by her office and Visit Baltimore, the city's tourism-marketing office. "It is a perfect example of our mission to 'link and leverage' our marketing efforts to achieve the highest return on our investment.
The state bought TV time in its top feeder markets: Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Visit Baltimore purchased time in Ohio, the rest of Pennsylvania (outside of Philadelphia) and northern New Jersey. TBC, Inc., a Baltimore-based advertising agency, created the commercial.
New film production coming to Maryland in June
Filming of a feature-length dark comedy, Better Living Through Chemistry, begins in Maryland this month at locations in Baltimore city, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, and the Eastern Shore.
Actors Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan and Ray Liotta headline the cast. Geoff Moore and David Posamentier, who wrote the script, are also directing the film. Occupant Entertainment is the producer.
“This film, and the many film projects that have chosen Maryland recently, help create hundreds of jobs and generate new business for the local companies that support this industry," Gov. Martin O'Malley said.
Recently in Maryland, HBO filmed the movie Game Change and the series VEEP. Filming of the Netflix series House of Cards is ongoing, and the film Jonesy Boy just wrapped production.
Better Living Through Chemistry could generate more than $7 million in economic impact and provide 340 jobs for local crew, actors and extras, according the Maryland Film Office.
Maryland's Film Production Employment Act of 2011 – which offers partial tax credit for local production expenditures and encourages the use of local crews – has been an incentive for production companies filming in the state.
Stakeholders discuss plans for Civil War sesquicentennial
Commemorations honoring the 150-year anniversary of the Civil War's 1862 Maryland Campaign will be in full swing this summer, culminating in September with an array of large-scale events that pay tribute to the Battle of Antietam – the bloodiest single day of combat in American history. Two of the Antietam events are: Maryland, My Maryland (3,000 re-enactors stage the epic battle, Sept. 8-9 at Boonesboro Town Farm) and Battle Anniversary Weekend at Antietam National Battlefield, Sept. 15-17.
To coordinate and discuss marketing strategies for the Maryland Campaign sesquicentennial activities, the Maryland Office of Tourism convened a meeting with its industry partners, May 2 at the visitor center operated by the Tourism Council of Frederick County in downtown Frederick.
Officials from the Frederick tourism office, Carroll County Office of Tourism, Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, and the National Park Service (Antietam National Battlefield and Manassas [Va.] National Battlefield Park) participated in the all-day meeting.
Jason Martz, representing Manassas National Battlefield, said that 100,000 visitors were counted at various sesquicentennial events hosted by the National Park Service during April. "They'll be coming," he said, predicting huge turn-outs for the Maryland commemorations.
Tourism officials pitch state at global marketplace
U.S. Travel Association's International Pow Wow – an annual event designed to generate international travel to the U.S. – was held in Los Angeles, April 21-25. During three days of pre-scheduled appointments, 1,000 U.S. travel organizations met with 1,200 international and domestic buyers from 70 countries to arrange $3.5 billion in future U.S. travel. Also, Brand USA, the new tourism marketing entity that promotes travel to the U.S. in international markets, unveiled its first marketing campaign.
The Maryland Office of Tourism hosted an area within the Capital Region USA (CRUSA)'s block of exhibition space. CRUSA is the international marketing organization for Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
“We shared more than 100 appointments with Virginia, meeting buyers from the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Brazil," said Rich Gilbert, travel trade sales manager at Maryland's tourism office. “We also had 29 appointments with Chinese buyers – nearly double what we had last year."
"Information about Star-Spangled Sailabration resonated well with media representatives and buyers – both international and domestic," said Camila Clark, public relations manager at the state tourism office. “They were looking for something different and immediate, and Sailabration fits that description." Running June 13-19, Sailabration is the international maritime festival in Baltimore's Inner Harbor that launches Maryland's War of 1812 commemoration.
Racing, jousting, jumping among Md. horse traditions
Maryland's rich equestrian heritage evokes a variety of traditions, says the Maryland Office of Tourism, especially this time of year. The 137th running of the Preakness Stakes (on May 19) – the middle jewel of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown series – represents the most visible of these traditions, yet it's not the only one in the state.
Steeplechases, dressage (gymnastics/ballet for horses) competitions, polo, and even jousting, all have strong identities in the state. Also, consider the extensive number of horse farms located in pockets of “Maryland horse country" across the state. And, for recreational equestrians, riding trails are ubiquitous in Maryland, says the tourism office.
“The strength of our state's horse community is its deep-rooted diversity – Maryland, after all, is a 'horse-heritage' state," says Ross Peddicord, executive director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, referring to Maryland's long-standing ties to equestrian culture. Established in 1998, the board – a program of the state's Department of Agriculture – promotes Maryland's horse industry, and licenses 600 riding, lesson and rental stables.
“Areas where horses are part of the local culture tend to be some of the most picturesque in Maryland – especially enticing for a warm-weather getaway," says Margot Amelia, executive director of the tourism office. “And, for a charming place to stay, check the Department of Agriculture's online list of farm bed and breakfasts across the state – where horses are often in evidence."
View a sampling of historical information, upcoming events and destinations – all related to horses in Maryland.
Writers, publicists gather in Baltimore for conference
Fifty members of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) are in Baltimore, May 9-12, for the organization's Northeast Chapter annual meeting. Visit Baltimore has coordinated a variety of tours in and around the city during the session, and five pre- and post-meeting tours – in Frederick and Howard counties, and Baltimore. The Maryland Office of Tourism sponsors a breakfast on Saturday, May 12, at the Baltimore Marriott International, the host hotel. SATW is a travel and tourism media association with 1,200 members.
Maryland wineries featured at Howard County festival
Wine in the Woods – the signature wine festival of Maryland's wine industry – celebrates its 20-year anniversary at Symphony Woods in Columbia, May 19-20. In addition to 33 Maryland wineries, this event presents 70 juried artisans and craft vendors, musical entertainment on two stages, food vendors and wine seminars. Call 410-313-4700 for general information; 410-313-7275 for ticket sales. Advance tickets (no longer available online) can be purchased at one of five counter locations. Saturday tickets include lawn admission to a concert that evening at Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Free event salutes Individual Artist awardees
Recipients of the Maryland State Arts Council's 2012 Individual Artist Awards will be honored at a free, public ceremony and reception at the American Visionary Art Museum, May 23, 7-9 p.m. Event includes remarks by Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director at Center Stage. The 100 selected artists will receive a total of $252,000 in individual award amounts of $1,000, $3,000 or $6,000. This year's awardees competed in five categories: crafts, non-classical music composition, non-classical music solo performance, photography and playwriting. For more information, e-mail the Arts Council or call 410-767-6555. Please RSVP by May 15.
Tubman symposium convenes historians, Shore residents
The annual Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Conference – hosted by the Choptank Region History Network – runs June 1-2 at Chesapeake College in Cambridge. Historians, educators and other experts present 25 workshops that explore the life, times and legacy of Tubman. Guided pre-conference tours of sites associated with Tubman are also planned, including bus, kayak and bike itineraries. Judith Wellman, a national researcher and writer with special interest in the Underground Railroad and women's history, is the first guest speaker. John W. Franklin, a program director for the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture – which is under construction – addresses a dinner event. Registration and more details are available online.