1812 bash an overture for Hub

Visitors set to spend $23.6M

By Donna Goodison
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Some 824,000 visitors will spend an estimated $23.6 million as Boston celebrates the bicentennial of the War of 1812 during OpSail/Boston Navy Week and hosts its annual Harborfest and Boston Pops July 4 fireworks show.

Nearly 30 Navy, Coast Guard, National Oceanographic Administration, coalition navy and tall ships will join the USS Constitution — which earned her “Old Ironsides” nickname during the war — at berths citywide for events running Thursday through July 6.

“It’s a national celebration in recognition of an important historical milestone for America,” said Chris O’Brien, executive director of Operation Sail. “These events also are important to the ports where they take place because they create significant positive economic impact.”

The city expects to draw primarily day-trippers from across the region. Restaurants, tour boats, taxis and entertainment venues will be the big winners. “Anyone along the water, especially if it’s a hot day, is going to benefit,” said John Hauck, owner of the Living Room restaurant and lounge on Atlantic Avenue.

Chinatown’s Silk Screen Printing Co., the official printer of OpSail gear, expects to sell 10,000-plus T-shirts and hats from eight locations if the weather cooperates. “It’s great for the city,” said owner Robert Kaplan.

Blue Inc. hopes visitors will drink in the festivities at its restaurant along the Rose Kennedy Greenway. “We’re looking into drinks that were popular around 1812, and we’re going to create a drink list around that,” said business development director Shannon Emerson.

The USS Constitution Museum, which has a new War of 1812 Discovery Center, will extend its hours to accommodate extra sightseers who could exceed the 400,000 that came for the USS Constitution’s 200th anniversary at the Charlestown Navy Yard in 1997.

“The economic impact to us would be an increase in donations, an increase in store sales in our gift shop and really just an increase in interest in … the Constitution,” museum finance chief Adrian Bresler said. “We’re 1812 all the time.”

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