At the Office of Tourism, February and March are when many of the details for the coming year are planned and finalized.
Already I have made arrangements for some of the advertising. Most of my advertising budget is spent between now and April to pay for the ads that will appear from April through the fall/winter holidays.
There will be a half-page Fairhaven ad in the South Coast Almanac, a nice glossy “lifestyles” magazine that was published for the first time last spring. (Our ad was in that premier issue, too.) This will be published in May It’s sold on newsstands throughout the region or delivered to homes by subscription. There is a nice companion website as well at http://southcoastalmanac.com.
We’ll (and by “we,” I mean us—you, me, the Town of Fairhaven) will also have a quarter-page ad each month in the Traveler, a newsprint publication that is distributed free at locations in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. It’s one of those newspapers you see at restaurants and tourist stops wherever you go. Those ads will run from May through November. In addition to the paid ads, the publisher provides free “editorial” support with photos and stories during the season.
Besides working on the advertising, I’m beginning to line things up for the summertime Monday Morning Fun programs at the Visitors Center. This will be the third season. It will consist of eight Monday mornings in July and August. I’m not ready to announce what the special programs will be for each week but I will let you know that once again I’m seeking some donations to help cover the costs. Last year there was a bounce house that the kids could play in for free each week and two weeks there was also an inflatable water slide. This was made possible by donations from several local businesses and organizations. Their names were credited on the fliers and in the publicity. If any group or business would like to donate $100 to sponsor the bounce house rentals, email me at FairhavenTours@fairhaven-ma.gov and I’ll tell you how to proceed.
If you have brought the children to Monday Morning Fun, you know there are also old fashioned lawn games to play for free—hula hoops, bean bag tosses, horse shoes, jarts, sidewalk chalk, nine pins, and more. There is face painting by Heart Henna & Face Painting for a modest fee. Guest presenters have included Buttonwood Park Zoomobile, Lloyd Center, Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Society, Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 65, NB National Park’s 1850s Ladies, Run Dog Run Farm, and others with programs and activities geared at ages 5 to 12. I’m planning to add some new guests as well as bring back some favorites from the first two years. Donations to the Tourism Gift Account can also help pay for some of the fees for these guests. (Some guests volunteer, others require a fee or donation.)
Another thing the Office of Tourism does in the summer is open the Old Stone Schoolhouse on North Street on Saturday afternoons during June, July and August. It’s the town’s oldest one-room schoolhouse, built in 1828, restored in the late 1960s. It’s where Manjiro went to school in the 1840s. In 1896 its school days ended when Oxford School opened. During the last 20 years, the schoolhouse has been opened to the public first by volunteers from the North Fairhaven Improvement Association and later by the Office of Tourism. Last year attendance started to drop off, so I’m looking for ways to give the place a boost. If anyone has some suggestions for programs or activities or if there are some folks with some enthusiasm who wish to volunteer, call me or email.
Erin Hedges and I are planning to continue playing “Abby” and “Greybeard” for Pirates and Privateers presentations at Fort Phoenix again this year. The presentations take place of Friday mornings, June through September. Some of them are for groups of school children. We had some good sized audiences (one week around 100) and some great publicity. Our program is flexible enough that we could add another actor or two to the mix. We dress in authentic 1770s costumes and talk about real and fictional pirates and privateers, with an emphasis on local history. Near the end of each presentation I fire a black powder swivel cannon! Would anyone care to help us? Since we already have one woman (who dresses as a man to go to sea), the program could do with another male or two (female pirates were extremely rare) but we could create a role for another woman, too. She would just have to be a land lubber, such as a person who runs a public house in the village where sailors hang out. Erin, as part of her character, has learned how to fire a flintlock pistol and has also fired the cannon. Volunteers of legal age would be able to do that. You’ll find my phone number and email address below if you want to be a pirate.
That’s all for this month. To find what events are taking place in town, go to the Events/Tours tab at the top of this page.
If you have any comments or suggestions for the Office of Tourism you can email me at FairhavenTours@fairhaven-ma.gov, call 508-979-4085, or stop by the Visitors Center, 141 Main St. Office hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a half-hour break around noon.