In any given month, one can find plenty of things to do in Lexington, but historically certain pages of the calendar have been more attractive to tourists than others. Sandwiched between the Patriots’ Day hoopla in April and start of summer vacation in late June, May was one of those months that didn’t exactly scream, “Be here now.”
Well, until the past few years anyway.
Enter Revolutionary Revelry, an initiative driven by Dawn McKenna and the Tourism Committee to package and promote a month’s worth of events and activities that celebrate Lexington’s arts, culture and history.
The idea, according to McKenna, is to leverage cultural assets to as an economic stimulus: attracting cultural tourists to the town during an off-peak tourism period and by promoting events that might connect them with local businesses.
To that end, “Revolutionary Revelry” is 31 days of assorted activities—from kite-flying to a barbeque cook-off to weekly colonial sings—that encourage locals and tourists alike to “Linger in Lexington.”
“Lexington is the envy of many communities, because most communities are spending thousands and thousands of dollars advertising to tell people why they should come,” said McKenna, who chairs the Tourism Committee. “We don’t have that problem, because Lexington is in every history book ever written. What we have is the issue of trying to get people to stay here.”
The spark that led to Revolutionary Revelry was in 2010, when the town was given information about a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant through the Adams Arts Program. Though those conversations didn’t result in grant funding, they did learn that cultural tourists spend more time and money in a given community than other tourists.
The 2012 Revolutionary Revelry festivities kick off with a from 4 to 7 p.m. today at the .
This year’s calendar boasts several new additions around pre-existing anchor events like , Memorial Day, Lexington Open Studios and the Lexington Pops Chorus concert. Several of the new events have tie-ins to local businesses, which are more involved this year, according to McKenna.
For instance, there will be a Lex Tee It Up golfing event May 8 at and a Patriots Pitch and Put on May 14. On May 11, there will be a sponsored by the at , and the May 21 event du jour is International Faire, which McKenna described as a Lexington equivalent of restaurant week in which participating eateries offer flat-rate meals.
“We built on last year,” said McKenna. “Last year we did what we could to pull it together in a short period of time and there were a lot of businesses who didn’t really get involved because they didn’t know about it or weren’t sure. We’ve really worked hard to tie together with things within the town that show why this town is so special.”
Another way they’ve built on last year is through more proactive promotion, according to McKenna, who said Revolutionary Revelry events are posted to a number of regional websites and will be promoted through social media, like Facebook and Twitter.