The possible names for the city of Frederick’s upcoming 275th anniversary celebration do not exactly roll off the tongue, not like the Bicentennial did in 1976, when we marked the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
A celebration of Frederick’s founding in 1745 is planned for the coming year. So, what should you call a 275th anniversary?
In Fairfax County, Virginia, which celebrated its birthday in 2017, it was called by some the Bicenterquasquigenary. That’s a mouthful there.
Wikipedia suggested that 175 years should be celebrated as the Dodransbicentennial, which it explains thusly: Dodrans is a Latin contraction of de-quadrans, which means “a whole unit less a quarter”; 175 years is a quarter-century less than the next whole century.
Would that make 2020 our Dodranstricentennial? Yikes.
This is all in fun, in part because marking 275 years seems somehow not as big a deal as 250 years did or 300 years will.
Still, we are happy the city will promote itself because the importance of tourism dollars to our local economy cannot be overstated.
Mayor Michael O’Connor has put together a good steering committee to plan events for the year, led by Beth Gura, who coordinated the events for Frederick’s 250th celebration 25 years ago. That’s a solid choice with great experience.
The mayor also introduced a logo for the anniversary incorporating the look of the logo used for the city’s 250th anniversary.
The new logo replaces the old slogan “So proudly we hail” — quoting from Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” — with “Join the story.” That was the slogan used on the widely derided new city logo that O’Connor introduced and then banished earlier this year. We still don’t get it, but it isn’t important enough to argue about.
The really important thing is that the O’Connor administration is recognizing the need to promote the city as a tourist destination. A recent report put total visitor spending in Frederick County in 2018 at $428.3 million, an increase of 4 percent.
The Economic Impact of Tourism in Maryland, a study published annually by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, said visitor spending has increased by 35 percent since 2010.
This is the definition of a thriving industry, one that should be nurtured and supported by local officials.
Melissa Muntz, marketing and communications manager of Visit Frederick, told News-Post reporter Erika Riley that Frederick County’s historic sites continue to be the biggest draws. However, she has seen a growing trend away from short day trips and toward overnight stays in recent years.
“But now that we have things like wineries, breweries, distilleries, great restaurants, a thriving downtown, popular main streets, we’re seeing that those same visitors who are coming for history also want to do those things,” Muntz said. “So, they’re staying longer and experiencing more of Frederick instead of just coming, seeing the battlefield, and leaving.”
It is one more screaming argument in favor of building a downtown hotel and conference center, a drum we have been beating for a long, long time.
We need a public-private partnership to achieve that goal, and we support the efforts of the city and county to make it happen, even without the support of the Hogan administration at the state level.
We look forward to the success of the renewed local efforts. A new hotel in the historic district would jump-start tourism in a way nothing else could do. It must be our top economic development priority.