Battle of St. Michaels brought significant economic activity to county, state

The Star Democrat

By JOSH BOLLINGER

ST. MICHAELS — The Battle of St. Michaels Bicentennial won the 2013 Office of Tourism Development Cultural Heritage Tourism award at the recent Maryland Travel and Tourism Summit.

The bicentennial celebration in St. Michaels, which was held on Aug. 10 and 11, was part of the Chesapeake Campaign — a series of weekend festivals meant to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

About 5,500 visitors, with 67 percent residing outside Talbot County, filled the St. Michaels waterfront and historic district for re-enactments, boat rides, horse-drawn carriage rides, a Main Street parade, live music and other bicentennial celebration events.

“We always enjoy welcoming visitors to our town,” Commissioner Ann Borders said in a statement. “Seeing our residents, shops, hotels and attractions filled was a great testament to the economic benefits of the statewide celebration. We are particularly pleased that this event focused attention on our rich history, and we believe we’ve created a lasting legacy for future generations.”

The total direct and indirect economic impact of visitor spending is estimated at $524,790, according to a study conducted by marketing research firm Forward Analytics.

The bicentennial celebration coincided with Watermen’s Appreciation Day held at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on Aug. 12, which was the day after the celebration ended.

The research study estimated that close to 63 percent of Battle of St. Michaels guests spent more than five hours in town, while 29.2 percent stayed both both days.

The total economic impact of $524,790 included $308,700 in direct impact and $216,090 in indirect impact.

Guests spent most of their money at restaurants and bars, according to the study. In Talbot County, $115,000 was spent on food. In total, festival attendees spent $63,900 on alcohol at local restaurants and bars, which resulted in $1,830 in Maryland tax revenue from the alcohol tax.

In all, Maryland received an estimated $22,689 in tax revenue from the economic activity generated by the Battle of St. Michaels, with $19,470 coming from nonresident attendees.

According to the study, $42,500 was spent in retail stores and on souvenir purchases in Talbot County. The study also estimates $19,400 was spent on tourist attractions and entertainment in the county.

About 10 percent of guests stayed overnight in a Talbot County hotel or bed and breakfast. This resulted in a direct impact of $51,100 for the Talbot County hotel industry, and the county received $2,044 in hotel tax revenues.

While nonresident festival guests spent an estimated $19,800 in gas traveling to and from St. Michaels, the gasoline excise tax generated $1,389 for Maryland.

St. Michaels was given a $75,600 grant from the Maryland 1812 Commission for the Battle of St. Michaels. But, an estimated $52,800 was spent out of the town’s operating budget on businesses and organizations operating in the town.

Another $16,900 was spent with businesses in Talbot County, and $18,200 was spent elsewhere in the state.

Operating expenditures include purchasing goods and professional services from local businesses for marketing and public relations, signage, construction, building supplies, landscaping, professional services and hospitality, among others.

The Cultural Heritage Tourism award was accepted by Borders and Town Manager Jean Weisman at a Thursday, Nov. 7, luncheon in Hanover.

Borders, who headed the Battle of St. Michaels Bicentennial Committee, said she “couldn’t be prouder” the town won the award.

“My committee, our staff, did an outstanding job,” Borders said, who added that the bicentennial’s committee and town staff did “the real work.”

She said between the bicentennial celebration and Watermen’s Appreciation Day, the long weekend made a big difference in the number of people who came to St. Michaels.

Also at the Maryland Travel and Tourism Summit, the Chesapeake Campaign won the Cooperative Marketing Partnership award and the Attack on Havre de Grace bicentennial won the Best Large Event award.

The Attack on Havre de Grace bicentennial had an estimated total economic impact from visitor spending of $1.35 million.

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