NEWS IN BRIEF
Maritime festival to launch 1812 bicentennial in June
Gov. Martin O'Malley joined Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and representatives from the U.S. Navy and Operation Sail, Inc., to announce plans for an international maritime festival - Star-Spangled Sailabration - that kicks-off Maryland's three-year War of 1812 bicentennial commemoration. The festival runs June 13-19, 2012, in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.
Dozens of Navy ships and tall ships from the U.S. and around the globe are expected to line Baltimore's harbor during the week. "We are pleased to welcome these ships to the Inner Harbor and the Bay for this historic celebration that will remind Americans of how, through courage and conviction, Marylanders from all walks of life came together and gave our nation her flag and national anthem," Gov. O'Malley said.
The festival will offer: free, on-board public tours of ships; official visits by international dignitaries and Navy leadership; fireworks; crew competitions; community-service projects; living-history displays; educational activities; a public-art project; and a new symphonic work in tribute to the bicentennial.
Star-Spangled Sailabration is expected to bring more than a million visitors to Baltimore and the region, generating significant national and international media coverage.
Arts generate $1 billion boost for state's economy
The arts industry generated a total of $501 million in direct spending and had a total economic impact of $1 billion during fiscal 2010, according to a recently released economic-impact study from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) concerning the state's arts industry that year.
"The arts are a significant source for job creation and part of the economic engine that powers our state," said DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson. "By investing in the arts, we are making a commitment to the most important modern investment we can make in the talents, skills, education, creativity and ingenuity of our people. Together, we can build stronger, more sustainable communities for generations to come."
Here are some of the findings in the report:
The DBED study used Maryland Cultural Data Project data supplied by 252 Maryland arts organizations that receive grants from the Arts Council.
- About 7.6 million people attended arts events in Maryland, spending an estimated $292 million on related goods and services.
- The arts industry generated 10,671 full-time equivalent jobs.
- Arts-related employment accounted for $385 million in salaries.
- Arts organizations generated $209 million in direct spending on goods and services.
- The arts industry provided $36.5 million in state and local taxes.
- Every $1 in arts organizations' operating budgets led to $3.78 in additional economic activity.
- Grants from the Maryland State Arts Council represent $1 out of every $19 in the operating budgets of arts organizations.
Tubman interviews move to Capitol Hill; parks bill passes committee
The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, which opens on Maryland's Eastern Shore in 2013, will have multi-media exhibits that include personal thoughts about Tubman - as provided in interviews with Eastern Shore residents, Tubman relatives, historical researchers and civic leaders.
On Nov. 15, members of the Tubman Interview Project team - from the Maryland Office of Tourism, and the Caroline and Dorchester county tourism offices - traveled to Washington, D.C., to conduct interviews with public officials. They met with Sen. Benjamin Cardin (Md.); Rep. John Lewis (Ga.); Robert Stanton, retired director of the National Park Service; and Vince Leggett, founder of the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation.
Five days earlier, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to endorse and send to the full Senate for consideration a bill that creates two national historical parks in Tubman's honor, one in Maryland and one in New York.
Tubman, an Eastern Shore native, helped to ferry enslaved people out of the area along the Underground Railroad. The New York park, located in Suffern, would commemorate Tubman's later years in that community as an activist in the women's suffrage movement and an advocate for African-American elderly.
Jeopardy spotlights Scenic Railroad in episode this week
TV viewers who watch Jeopardy on Friday, Nov. 25, will see the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad featured in a "Railroading 101" category. They'll even see Alex Trebek, the show's host, running a steam engine.
Nearly a year ago, Trebek mentioned on the show that he'd like to be at the controls of a steam engine. Barbara Buehl, executive director of Allegany County's tourism office, heard about Trebek's comment and asked Kim Shirer, a member of the office, to take action. Shirer sent an e-mail to the show in which she included Jeopardy-style questions that related to the Scenic Railroad. A producer from the show responded with interest.
In May, Trebek came to Cumberland with his crew. Shirer had reserved time on the rail line and invited 75 guests, including members of the press and a high-school band, to what became a Jeopardy-filming event. Trebek sat aside an engineer in the locomotive for the train's trip to Frostburg. He also played drums with the band, signed autographs and participated in media interviews.
"This is my first trip to this area," Trebek told the Cumberland Times News. "And (it) has been a great experience thanks to your tourism board."
photo by: Bill Merlavage
Main Streets plan for Small Business Saturday
Merchants along Maryland's Main Streets will offer shopping discounts to mark Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26 - a national event sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday designed to spur activity at local businesses. It was started last year by a coalition that includes small-business advocacy groups, public officials and American Express.
Twenty Maryland Main Street programs are participating in the event: Annapolis, Bel Air, Berlin, Brunswick, Cambridge, Cumberland, Denton, Dundalk, Easton, Elkton, Frederick, Frostburg, Havre de Grace, Middletown, Oakland, Princess Anne, Takoma Park, Taneytown, Thurmont and Westminster.
Tourism officials address Garrett County Chamber of Commerce
Hannah Byron, assistant secretary for the Maryland Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, and Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, discussed the state of Maryland's tourism industry at the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce's quarterly Business before Hours session, held Nov. 15 in Deep Creek Lake.
"One of the state's selling points is its rich recreational opportunities, such as those that abound in Garrett County," Byron said. She also commended the Chamber for having a robust roster of 700 members, making it "a unique engine for economic growth in Maryland and throughout the region."
Amelia said the state welcomed more than 32 million visitors in 2010 - an increase of 10.7 percent over the previous year. She also said the state invested $8.3 million in general funds for the Office of Tourism during fiscal 2011 and tourism sales-tax codes generated close to $360 million in sales-tax revenue. "This created a return of $43 for every one dollar invested in the efforts to promote Maryland as a travel destination."
Photo: Guest speakers Margot Amelia and Hannah Byron with Nicole Christian (center), president and CEO, Garrett County Chamber of Commerce
Tourism sales-tax revenue up 5 percent over last year
The latest issue of the Maryland Tourism Monitor — the Office of Tourism's monthly report on measures for visitation and marketing, tourism-related sales taxes and leisure and hospitality jobs — is available online.
Among its findings: Sales tax revenue from tourism tax codes grew 5.3 percent — almost two points more than the 3.6 percent growth for overall sales-tax revenue for the first quarter of the fiscal year. Additionally, with an increased advertising budget for web marketing and print, the tourism office has seen more than double the number of responses to advertising on the web and 66 percent more responses to print advertising.
Decoy carver, bowling alley, musical tradition win ALTA Awards
Maryland Traditions, the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council, has announced the three winners - a person, place and tradition - of its annual ALTA (Achievement in Living Traditions and Arts) Awards. Named for the late Alta Schrock a folklorist and community leader in Western Maryland, the awards recognize the efforts of individuals and organizations to sustain Maryland traditions.
Awardees are: Rich Smoker, a master decoy carver who lives in Somerset County;
Patterson Bowling Center Duckpin Bowling Lanes, the oldest duckpin-bowling alley in the world, located near Patterson Park in East Baltimore; and The Singing & Praying Bands of Maryland - representing a statewide, African-American musical tradition that began at Methodist prayer meetings during the 19th century.
An awards ceremony will be held Dec. 3, 7 p.m., at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center in Silver Spring. Admission is free, though tickets must be reserved by calling the center's box office, 240-567-5775.
Holiday greenery available at annual Frederick auction
Frederick Festival of Greens features up to 100 decorated or themed wreaths and trees at the town's Cultural Arts Center, Nov. 25 to Dec. 4. All of the wreaths and trees will be available for purchase during a silent auction that runs throughout the event. Many of them come with attached gift certificates and related merchandise. Event kicks off on Nov. 25 with the Frosty Friday artists market. For more information, call the Frederick Arts Council, 301-662-4190, or visit its web site.
Fort McHenry presents annual candlelight tours
Join park rangers at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine for candlelight tours of the fort, Dec. 3, 6-9 p.m. The rangers will discuss how soldiers, sailors and civilians spent their holidays at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, Civil War, World War I and World War II. Tours are free and last approximately 45 minutes.
Illumination honors fallen soldiers at Antietam
The annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination in Western Maryland, Dec. 3, pays tribute to casualties of the epic Civil war battle that occurred Sept. 17, 1862 - the bloodiest one-day battle in American military history - with 23,110 glowing luminarias, one for each soldier killed, wounded or missing at the battle. Use the park entrance on Richardson Avenue off Route 34 for this driving-tour event, which opens to the public at 6 p.m.
Directory features holiday offerings from Southern Maryland farms
Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission's So. Maryland, So Good "Farms for the Holidays" directory lists farms in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's counties that offer locally grown or produced products during the holiday season. The directory also features farm-made gifts, fresh farm foods, award-winning wines, locally-grown Christmas trees and holiday decor. An online version is available. For more information, call 301-274-1922.