All hands on deck

Published 2:16 am Friday, May 18, 2007

By Staff
For now, forget the controversy over proposed funding for Downtown Washington on the Waterfront.
It’s time to focus some attention on a project proposed and being organized by Downtown Washington on the Waterfront — the 2008 Pamlico Boat Show.
Washington’s City Council adopted a resolution of support for the in-water boat show scheduled for April 24-27 of next year. The boat show is a good thing for the city to support. The event’s potential for positive effects on the city’s economy and revitalization of downtown are immense.
And if the boat show proves to be a money-maker for DWOW and helps it become less reliant on city funding, that’s good news for the city. Although some people, during a council meeting this week, cast doubts on DWOW’s abilities and capabilities to successfully put on the boat show, DWOW deserves credit for trying to find a vehicle that would serve as a major fundraiser for the nonprofit organization charged with restructuring downtown’s economy and revitalizing the city’s central business district.
An annual fundraiser like the boat show that would put money in DWOW’s coffers and wean it from city dollars should be supported.
The boat show likely will draw many visitors, vendors and exhibitors to Washington. That’s good for the city’s tourism effort. Those visitors, vendors and exhibitors will need lodging, meals and, perhaps, some supplies that must be purchased locally. That’s good for merchants and the city’s economy.
The boat show had been scheduled to debut this spring, but two factors — the death of Kent Fulton, who was president of DWOW when he died July 4, and the resignation of DWOW Executive Director Steve Tanner at the end of July — resulted in it being moved to next spring.
Last summer, all parties involved in the planning of the inaugural event said they viewed the delay as an opportunity to increase potential marketability and awareness among the boating industry and potential exhibitors. They’re probably right. Another year of planning and preparation should pay off with a boat show the area can be proud of.
Having the boat show in Washington makes sense, as the boat show’s Web site — — points out.
The boat show promises four days of events, one day for the maritime trade and three days of open exhibitions that include various family friendly activities. That’s good to know.
As important as the commercial aspect of the boat show will be, it’s just as important, if not more so, the event will offer things for area families to do. After all, the waterfront and Pamlico River is theirs. The presence of the boat show should not prevent them from having access to the water and enjoying what the boat show has to offer.
When it comes to the Pamlico Boat Show, may it find smooth sailing as it stays the course to Washington’s waterfront next spring. When it comes to supporting the boat show, the motto should be “all hands on deck.”
And when the boat show arrives off the waterfront, the city, region and state should be there to greet it with a loud “Drop anchor and welcome to your home port!”