By: Lizzy McLellan
History sells, according to an economic impact study released Wednesday morning about the Chesapeake Campaign events of 2013.
The study looked into the impact of two particular events, each named for the War of 1812 event it commemorates — Attack on Havre de Grace, which took place May 3-5, and the Battle of St. Michaels, which was Aug. 10-11. They are two in a series of community events celebrating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 by highlighting each stop along the Chesapeake Campaign. Ten of those events took place in 2013.
The two events studied were quite different in size — Havre de Grace brought 26,000 people, while St. Michaels brought 5,500. Havre de Grace had an economic impact of $1,351,670, and the St. Michaels festivities had a $524,790 impact on Talbot County.
But for the size of each town, both events were very successful, said Jill Feinberg, of Star Spangled 200 Inc. The town of St. Michaels was at capacity for the festival, she said.
The majority of visitors to both festivals were aware of the events’ connection to the series of historical celebrations, but only about a fifth of them had attended the Star-Spangled Sailabration. (That event was still quite successful, with about 1.54 million in attendance, and a return of $35 for every dollar invested.)
However, 58.5 percent of the Havre de Grace and St. Michaels visitors surveyed said that they were likely or very likely to attend another War of 1812 event in Maryland in the future.
That bodes well for the Star-Spangled Spectacular planned for Sept. 6-16, 2014, said Feinberg. A bookend of the Chesapeake Campaign, this festival will celebrate the bicentennial of the Star-Spangled Banner.
The event is expected to draw a huge crowd, just like the Sailabration did, but Feinberg is also hopeful that the Chesapeake Campaign raised awareness among Marylanders who may be more likely to visit Baltimore after enjoying a smaller event.