Published 8:42 pm Thursday, March 19, 2015
City again plays host for group’s spring excursion
Get ready for a possible record-setting invasion of Washington next month. No, not by Union forces as was done during the Civil War.
During the third weekend in April, hundreds of cyclists will ride into the city for a weekend of activities associated with Cycle North Carolina’s annual spring excursion. Washington is no stranger to Cycle North Carolina events, having hosted several of them in recent years. This spring’s event is set for April 17-19.
“Cycle North Carolina closed their registration last week, and they have between 1,400 and 1,500 cyclists registered. It will be another record-breaking year. Every year they come, they increase their numbers. So, they’re like, ‘We have more than we’ve ever had.’ So, again that’s good and bad because we’re trying to find places for them. Our hotels are all booked. Chocowinity’s all booked. Houses are being rented. Again, it’s trying to find space. I think 60 people have indicated they’re bringing RVs. I think we had 15 or 20 last time,” said Lynn Wingate, the city’s tourism-development director, during the Washington Tourism Development Authority’s meeting Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re excited about having another record-breaking weekend in Washington, and just rolling out the red carpet because they like it. The cyclists love coming to Washington,” Wingate said.
The first night of the spring visit coincides with the first Music in the Streets event for this year, she noted.
Some of the cyclists are expected to arrive early, coming in the afternoon of May 16 to make sure they are first in line when registration and check-in begins the morning of April 17, Wingate said.
The authority voted to award a $500 grant to the Washington Harbor District Alliance to help pay expenses related to putting on a Memorial Day celebration May 25. WHDA had asked for $1,500. The estimated cost to put on the event is $10,000, according to the grant application submitted by WHDA.
“The event is being organized to honor the veterans of eastern NC with a day of music, inspiring speeches and then concluding with fireworks,” reads the application.
Among the scheduled events and activities are a speech by N.C. Transportation Secretary Anthony Tata, a retired Army brigadier general; performances by the 82nd Airborne Division band and Back Yard Groove band and a fireworks display. Local veterans groups have been asked to participate and a request for a military fly-over is in the works, according to the application.
The authority awards grants to help first-time events that bring visitors to Washington get established. WHDA plans to spend the grant on television advertising for the Memorial Day celebration.