A welcome trend

Published 11:17 am Friday, July 18, 2008

By Staff
When it comes to events in Washington and Beaufort County, there appears to be a trend developing.
It’s a good trend for several reasons, including boosting tourism.
A prime example of this trend is the upcoming weekend of Aug. 15-17. Several events are being strung together, instead of having all of them occur on the same day.
On Aug. 15, there’s Music in the Streets. That should draw a huge crowd to downtown Washington, weather permitting. That’s good for merchants.
On Aug. 16, there’s Saturday Market and the third-annual Pickin’ on the Pamlico. If Pickin’ on the Pamlico is sold out, that’s 600 people on the waterfront in downtown Washington. Saturday Market brings its fair share of people to downtown Washington.
That weekend, there’s Treasure on the Water. On Aug. 17, Treasure on the Water will conduct an event that’s similar to a scavenger hunt, but participants will be required to visit specific places either by car or by boat and have their maps stamped at those places.
By spreading out those events, tourists are encouraged to spend a night or two in Washington. That’s good news for area lodging establishments, restaurants and other businesses.
Are tourists coming to events like those planned for the third weekend in August?
Lynn Lewis, the city’s director of tourism development. says so.
This October will be the sixth year that Music in the Streets and Smoke on the Water, another signature Washington festival, will have been tied together. Music in the Streets, usually held the third Friday of each month from April through September, moves to the fourth Friday in October so it can team with Smoke on the Water to provide two days of activities during the fourth weekend of October. The October Music in the Streets features the Parade of Pigs, a tribute to the pigs that are barbecued for the next day’s Smoke on the Water.
The Beaufort County Arts Council’s annual art show takes place that weekend, too.
Those three events bring people to downtown Washington for three days. That’s good for merchants.
Multiple-day stays by visitors translate into more sales-tax revenue and more occupancy-tax revenue for the city. That’s good for the city.
Having several events or one event stretched out over two or three days gives more people more opportunities to attend the events. A person who misses an event one day because he or she had to work that day can attend an event another day. Multiple events over multiple days provide residents and visitors alike with more options when it comes to deciding what to do during a weekend, or even weekdays.
It’s understandable why the idea of piggy-backing events over a two- or three-day period is becoming more popular. The more time visitors spend in the city and county, the more likely they are to leave some of their money behind when the leave. Plus, publicity for one event, likely will generate publicity for the other events because they likely will be linked together by media outlets informing the public about the events.
That being said, it’s time to find a way to have multiple events for as many weekends as possible.