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Tourism revenue reached $68 million in the City of Manassas in 2016

Data released by the United States Travel Association (USTA) reveals that all regions in Virginia posted an increase in tourism revenue last year.

Tourism revenue for the City of Manassas reached $68,000,000. Local tourism-supported jobs totaled 580 while local tourism-related taxes were $1,800,000, a 3.5% increase. All data was received by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) from US Travel Association and is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from trips taken 50 miles or more away from home.

“The City of Manassas prides itself on being visitor friendly,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate.  “According to the 2016 Citizen Satisfaction Survey completed by ETC Institute, the City of Manassas scored more than 20 percent above the national average in customer service.”

According to the US Travel Association, tourism in Virginia generated $24 billion in travel spending. Tourism also supported 230,000 jobs in the Commonwealth and $1.7 billion in state and local taxes. The increase is largely attributed to Virginia’s tourism development all around the state, including: new hotels, restaurants, agritourism, craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, cideries, sports, outdoor recreation, festivals and events, music venues, wedding venues, meeting and convention venues, attractions and so much more. Virginia’s changing tourism product makes the Commonwealth a destination for authentic travel experiences and thriving communities.

“As the one of Virginia’s largest private sector industries, tourism represents $24 billion in economic impact and contributes $1.7 billion in state and local taxes, injecting critical dollars into our communities statewide,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “The tourism industry supports local businesses, services, and infrastructure, and is an important contributor to job creation. Communities all across Virginia continue to develop new tourism product, making the Commonwealth one of the most exciting and compelling destinations in the world.”

The Virginia Tourism Corporation is the state agency responsible for marketing Virginia to visitors and promoting the Virginia is for Lovers brand. Virginia is for Lovers is the longest-running state tourism slogan in the country. Virginia is for Lovers stands for love, pure and simple, and promotes the state as the ideal destination for loved ones to completely connect on a great vacation. Virginia is for Lovers was named one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all time by Forbes and was inducted into the National Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009.  To plan your next vacation in Virginia, visit www.virginia.org and discover why Virginia is for Lovers.



PotomacLocal.com is the newest tenant at CENTERFUSE

PotomacLocal.com is the newest tenant at CENTERFUSE, the budding co-workspace in Downtown Manassas.

The seven-year-old digital media company with a focus on local news, politics, and transportation issues in the Prince William County region will not only produce news coverage and content at the Manassas co-working center but will engage with readers and local business owners there, too.

“My job as an entrepreneurial journalist on any given day requires me to be in multiple places in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. While a traditional office has never been in our plans, the flexibility, open work environment, and business support from the staff at CENTERFUSE are just what our company needs to grow,” said Potomac Local Media Founder and Publisher Uriah Kiser.

With Potomac Local’s acquisition of a dedicated workspace at CENTERFUSE, the company will launch a new podcast to discuss issues facing area residents. Additionally, Potomac Local will hold community events at CENTERFUSE to engage readers and residents, as well as hold scheduled publisher’s “office hours” where readers may visit with Potomac Local writers to share story ideas, as well as voice
neighborhood concerns in a one-on-one setting.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Potomac Local as our newest member of CenterFuse.  Our facility, located in Downtown Manassas lends a perfect opportunity for Uriah to connect with areas of Prince William County while working in a pristine location in the City of Manassas,” said Historic Manassas Inc. Director Debbie Haight. 

CENTERFUSE opened in early May and caters to entrepreneurs in need of shared workspace. Historic Manassas Inc. is contracted to provide small business support services to CENTERFUSE members.  

City of Manassas Celebrates its Business Community in May

Recognizing that businesses are the backbone of Manassas, the Manassas City Council recently issued a proclamation declaring May “Business Appreciation Month.”

“The strength of the City of Manassas relies on the strength of its business community,” says Mayor Harry J. Parrish II. “Our businesses create jobs and make the City a great place to live, work, and do business.”

Through Business Appreciation Month, the City of Manassas honors and celebrates its thriving businesses and the engaged business owners who are very involved in the community. They enthusiastically support local service groups, youth activities, and participate in events like this week’s upcoming First Friday Gallery Walk where downtown merchants will showcase local artists’ works.

According to the Virginia Employment Commission, the City has 1,530 business establishments within its boundaries. Its businesses range from new start-ups to corporations with more than 1,000 employees and feature unique shops, restaurants offering a spectrum of cuisines, and even breweries and a distillery.

To thank the business owners and operators who choose to be located in the City, the City of Manassas and the Prince William Chamber are hosting a free Manassas Business Appreciation Breakfast on Thursday, May 11, 8:00-10:00 a.m. at the Center for the Arts (9419 Battle Street, Manassas). Local businesses are encouraged to spend the morning networking with each other and mingling with the mayor and members of the City Council. Members of the business community may attend this invitation-only event by contacting Nicole Smith with the City’s Economic Development Department at 703-853-3701.



Historic Manassas reveals new logo

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Historic Manassas old

Featured photos in slideshow: New logo, old logo

Over the last year, Historic Manassas, Inc. (HMI) has worked endlessly on their rebranding efforts and are excited to announce the release of their new logo. The new logo features a streetscape of Main Street as well as the welcoming historic water tower. To represent Historic Manassas’ close partnership with the City, their new tag line ‘Historic Heart. Modern Beat.’ was also incorporated into the logo.

Patrick King, CEO of Imagine, worked to create the perfect logo.

“We are humbled to be a part of this rebrand, excited that Manassas is undergoing a wonderful amount of growth and change, while still staying true to its history. We felt it was fitting to create a logo that married a vibrant energy to its beautiful architecture, and we are very proud of the result,” said King.

HMI began their rebranding efforts within the community by creating a survey last spring to determine who the community thought HMI was. The former logo, the downtown train depot, gave many the impression that HMI was just those who ran the train station or a committee involved with the museum and historic preservation within the City. Very few realized the involvement HMI has in the community including the numerous events that take over the streets of downtown each year.

Historic Manassas, Inc. was formed to promote a positive image of Historic Downtown Manassas and to perpetuate its revitalization. HMI feels this new logo helps to push forth its mission statement to engage the community in promotion, preservation, and enhancement of our vibrant Historic Downtown. Those interested in learning more about HMI’s four committees can find information here on their website.

Keep an eye out for the new logo and be sure to check out all of the events coming up in downtown. Next up is First Friday – March Madness on March 3!


Souper Bowl is Back in Manassas for a third year

First Friday is back and it is time for the Third Annual “Souper Bowl!”

On Friday, February 3, from 6 to 9 p.m., merchants in Historic Downtown Manassas will be hosting restaurants and serving up soup. This year, 10 locations will feature soups, ranging from chili to gumbo and more.

Tickets can be purchased for $10 at any participating merchant location and will entitle attendees to unlimited soup samplings. Once you have sampled the wide assortment of soup, you’ll be asked to vote for your favorite to crown the winning restaurant “Souper Bowl Champion.”

Last year, downtown’s newest restaurant, Mariachi’s, took home the crown with their Tortilla Soup. After being open for about a month, they also took home second place with their Spinach and Chorizo soup.

February kicks off the first First Friday of 2017. Souper Bowl is a great kick off for the year and gets the community excited about what is to come for future First Fridays. Street closures for First Friday will begin in April and run through October to allow pedestrian traffic in the streets.

The event is a great way for people to get a little sample of what each restaurant has to offer. A list of participating merchants and restaurants for Souper Bowl can be found at visitmanassas.org. This event will be held rain or shine. Don’t forget to also stop by Ameriprise while on your tasting tour and sign up for a $25 membership with HMI! Memberships entitle cardholders to a discount at your favorite downtown restaurant and shops!

If you are looking for something to do on a First Friday, or any other day of the week, be sure to check out Historic Downtown Manassas – you just may find your new favorite restaurant and shops!


Junction B&B in Manassas is expanding

After seven years in business, and having to turn away hundreds of tourists due to space limitations, the Manassas Junction B&B is expanding.

Owners Mark and Ann Hempen plan to rehabilitate an existing outbuilding on the property into a 450-square-foot cottage suite for the Bed and Breakfast. The addition will provide a third “room” for guests; currently, two rooms are available for rent in the 2,700 square foot main house. As a long time residents of the City, the Hempen’s hope the addition will encourage additional tourists “to enjoy and be enriched by the history, culture, and friendliness of Manassas.”

Located in Historic Downtown Manassas, the Queen Anne, Eastlake style Victorian home was originally built in 1902. Completely restored, and furnished with period antiques, this cozy bed and breakfast is the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing get-a-way weekend or to accommodate out of town guests.

The owners were able to take advantage of the City’s Arts and Tourism incentive program to help offset the costs of the expansion.

For additional information on the Arts and Tourism incentive program, visit:
www.manassasva.gov/incentives

For additional information on Manassas Junction B&B, visit:
www.manassasjunction.com

This promoted post is written and paid for by the City of Manassas Department of Economic Development.

Manassas makes getting a food truck permit easier

Diners in search of fast, novel, and delicious meals may soon have more choices as new rules enable food trucks to open for business in the City of Manassas.

Although food trucks have always been a fixture at Manassas events like the Fall Jubilee, and have always been permitted at private events, recent changes to the zoning ordinance make it possible for food trucks to open on a regular basis. The zoning change responded to a growing nationwide and local demand among consumers for food truck fare and a growing number of local vendors ready to open for business.

Restaurateurs interested in parking their food trucks in Manassas will find a streamlined process for permitting. Food trucks are permitted to open if a property owner with at least one acre of land grants permission, and the truck owner obtains an annual $50 zoning permit, a business license, and all appropriate licenses and inspections from the Virginia Department of Health.

Up to three food trucks can stay open at an approved location for four hours between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., and all trucks must be removed from the property at the end of the day.

 Please visit www.manassascity.org/zoningpermits or call 703-257-8232 for more information.

This promoted post is written and paid for by the City of Manassas Department of Economic Development.

Enter the pumpkin pie eating contest and beer and wine garden at the 34th Annual Manassas Fall Jubilee

It’s that time of the year again! The 34th Annual Fall Jubilee will be held October 1 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

This highly recognized craft and artisan festival brings out nearly 30,000 people to visit Historic Downtown Manassas each year. Streets become lined with booths featuring unique crafters, non-profits, local community booths, and numerous downtown merchants. There is fun to be had for everyone at the Fall Jubilee!

This year brings back exciting contests introduced last year to the Fall Jubilee. Fall is the season of pumpkin pie and the pie contests are back again! Enter your homemade pumpkin pie into the baking contest or sign up for our pumpkin pie eating contest.

The pumpkin pie eating contest will be broken up into two age groups for children and adults – and there’s a catch, no hands allowed! The Main Stage on Prince William Street will feature music from DarcyDawn & Company and Kitty and the Fat Cats. Underneath the Harris Pavilion attendees can find the community stage featuring local dance troops and musical acts.

This year’s Beer and Wine Garden can be found on the Manassas Museum lawn from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sample beers from Manassas’s own BadWolf Brewing Co. and Heritage Brewing Co and get your wine fix from the new tasting room in downtown Manassas, Aroma.

There will also be loads of fun for the kids including, rides, games, and the Southern States Pumpkin Patch full of pumpkins waiting to be decorated. At noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m, there will be a DareDevil Dog Show on the museum lawn! Stop by to see tricks and a chance to meet the rebellious pups.

Parking for the Manassas Fall Jubilee can be found in the free, downtown multi-level parking garage on Main Street and Prince William Street. For more information about Historic Manassas, Inc., the Manassas Fall Jubilee, and other great Manassas events, go to visitmanassas.org.

This promoted post sponsored by Historic Manassas Inc. 

More than 30,000 flock to Manassas Farmer’s Market for food, music, demos

The City of Manassas Farmers Market has had quite the season this year!

This season alone, there have been over 30,000 visitors to the markets. The City of Manassas Farmers Market runs three days a week – Tuesdays through August from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Harris Pavilion, Thursdays through the beginning of November from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Harris Pavilion, and Saturdays through November from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Parking Lot B, better known to many as the water tower lot across from the Train Depot.

The Tuesday night market began three years ago with the attempt to catch the commuters coming home on the VRE. While it is a smaller market, the 10 vendors range in items from produce and hot sauces to clothing and photography.

A big draw at the Tuesday evening markets is the free, live concerts. Each Tuesday, the Harris Pavilion hosts a musician for their special Take Out Tuesday summer concert series. Both events in conjunction with each other have continued to draw people downtown and see all that the City has to offer. The Tuesday evening market runs each summer from June through August.

The Thursday market is the City of Manassas’ one producer-only market. On Thursday’s the 20+ vendors range from delicious fresh herbs, veggies, and fruits to fresh meats and brewed coffee. The Thursday market often hosts groups of young children to introduce them to healthy eating and farming. Schools can contact the market manager to arrange a field trip to the market anytime throughout the market season.

Saturday morning markets have consistently been a favorite of market goers. This year alone they have had just shy of 21,000 visitors to this market.

This year the market acquired two sponsors. Robison & Robison Services, a local HV/AC company, is proudly sponsoring the weekly musical artists that perform. Each Saturday you can find artists ranging from country and bluegrass to a family of fiddlers and a local jazz ensemble.

This year’s second sponsor is Beazer Homes and has allowed the Manassas market to add monthly cooking demonstrations. The market vendors happily donate fresh goods and a local volunteer, Terry Lopez, cooks up a delicious and simple recipe for market attendees to watch and sample.

So far cooking demonstrations have focused on pickled veggies and mushrooms. Two cooking demonstrations are coming up in August – August 20 a teenage chef will be making gazpacho and on August 27 the recipe will focus on fresh peaches from Dodson produce.

Make sure to follow the City of Manassas Farmers Market Facebook page for specials, cooking demonstration schedules, musical performers, and more!

City of Manassas is outperforming school systems with similar demographics and serving a single high school

Northern Virginia is home to some of the best public schools systems in the state, and nation. 

For a relatively small community like the City of Manassas, ‘keeping up with the Jones’’ might seem like a daunting task.  But just as Manassas is experiencing a revitalization, so too is the public school system.

In the four years since Superintendent Catherine Magouryrk took the helm, Manassas City schools have undergone significant transformation.  The challenges have been considerable, but she continues to face them head on.  She and the staff have been working harder than ever before. 

And they are getting results, great results.

–Osbourn High School (OHS), the City’s only high school, was recently named a Silver Medal School, ranking it in the top 16% of high schools in Virginia by US News and World Report.

–85% of OHS graduates go on to college.

–George C. Round Elementary School has earned the Virginia Department of Education’s 2016 Board of Education ‘Distinguished Achievement Award’ for advancing student learning and achievement.

–The City’s K-12 STEM curriculum, which includes coding, robotics and maker spaces, has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Education and its students are winning competitions across the state.

When compared to school systems with similar demographics and serving a single high school, the City of Manassas is outperforming; specifically in the areas of math and science.

Manassas City Public School system is proud of its accomplishments to-date, and thanks to the significant efforts of Dr. Magouryrk and staff is on a path towards greater success over the next few years.  If you have questions about or are just curious to see first-hand, the significant progress being made in our schools, please visit the City Schools website to schedule a tour or visit with Dr. Magouryrk.

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This post is sponsored by City of Manassas Economic Development.

Celebrate dad at the 12th Annual Manassas Wine & Jazz Fest

The 12th Annual Manassas Wine & Jazz Festival is back on Sunday, June 19 from 12-7  p.m. on the Manassas Museum Lawn.

Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day at this day-long event with plenty for all to enjoy. Featuring Virginia farm wineries and two local breweries, the event is a great kickoff to summer as people plan their weekend getaways.

Manassas’ Wine & Jazz Festival has annually been held on Father’s Day and has expanded from the Harris Pavilion to the Museum Lawn. It’s a great event for everyone! Families can come to enjoy the day with great live jazz performances and high-end novelty crafters. The entertainment stage will host the Robert Jospe Express, the Dave Wilson Quartet and back again this year is headline jazz performer Marcus Johnson.

“Marcus Johnson has become a staple in this festival. Year after year people come strictly to see him perform and then get to experience all that the festival has to offer,” said HMI’s Executive Director Debbie Haight.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs and find a spot on the front of the museum lawn at the stage to relax and enjoy the jazz music. After you’ve finished tasting all of the wines, attendees can purchase their favorite bottle and enjoy it at the festival or have it collected to pick up at the end of the day.

This year, the VIP ticket option has been upgraded significantly with a limited number of available tickets. Not only will VIP ticket holders get to enter an hour early at 11am, they will also receive a $10 gift card to the shops and restaurants in historic downtown Manassas, and complimentary water. Attendees who purchase a VIP ticket will receive 6 exclusive wine and food pairings on each hour in a secluded VIP tent. They will receive a description from each winery along with the restaurant or food vendor who is pairing with their wines. The VIP experience is sure to add additional excitement to an already fun-filled day.

Tickets for the festival are on sale via MissionTix and can be found at www.visitmanassas.org. Tickets will be on sale the day of the event but prices will go up. For more information on all of the events going on in historic downtown Manassas, go to www.visitmanassas.org

We’ve got cloggers, belly dancers, wintry princesses, and train rides at the Heritage Railroad Festival in Manassas

The Heritage Railway Festival is back in Manassas for its 22nd year! Enjoy the rich railroad history of Manassas Saturday, June 4 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. surrounding the Train Depot.

A day full of family-friendly fun, the Railway Festival will feature a community stage on West Street hosting Premier Martial Arts, Wildlife Ambassadors, Bull Run Cloggers, and Magnificent Belly Dancers. Take an excursion train ride to Clifton and back featuring two wintry princess.

Tickets are available for purchase online and in person at the Train Depot. Excursion trains will leave at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.. After your train excursion, walk over to the Harris Pavilion and view the memorabilia and model train displays. Stop by the Farmers Market, enjoy children rides, shop novelty vendors and more!

A new addition to the festival this year, is the chance to win a tea party with the two wintry princesses between the morning and afternoon trains. Bags of Hershey Kisses are being sold at numerous downtown merchant locations with winning bags containing blue Hershey Kisses. Winners will have a one-hour tea party at The Things I Love for additional time with the princesses.

Back again this year is the Norfolk & Southern J-Class 611 Steam Train. The Steam Train will take passengers on a half day excursion to Front Royal and back Saturday morning and return around noon to remain as a static display for the duration of the festival. The Steam Train will then take two excursions on Sunday, June 5. A limited number of tickets remain for the three Steam Train excursions and can be purchased online at www.fireup611.org.

Whether you love trains and railroads or are just looking for some family fun, this event is a great way to spend your Saturday and see all that Historic Downtown Manassas has to offer. For more information on this and other events in the City of Manassas, go to www.visitmanassas.org.

Manassas wants to know what keeps you coming back to Downtown, and what more you want to see.

Historic Manassas, Inc. (HMI) is in the process of re-branding itself and wants public input.

HMI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit contracted by the City of Manassas, but many people are unaware of what HMI does for the community.

However, much of what the community participates in is planned and coordinated by HMI.

“Many people hear ‘Historic’ Manassas and automatically think we run the museum and the historical landmarks in the City, but that’s not us,” said Executive Director Debbie Haight.

HMI created a short survey to gather a general idea of what people that HMI is, what draws them to a great downtown area, and more. The survey is designed to take no longer than 15 minutes of one’s time and also provides for an opportunity to win a gift card to the shops and restaurants in historic downtown Manassas.

HMI’s survey has only been up and running for less than a week, but the response has been incredible.

“The responses we’ve received so far have already shown us that people are confusing what our organization does,” said Haight. “However, it’s exciting to see so many people invested in the downtown district and we can’t wait to show them what they are helping us to create.”

After a brief look at the results many people are excited about all that has happened in Downtown Manassas over the last few years with new events and art initiatives and all that is to come.

If you have a few moments, consider taking this short survey and getting your opinions and thoughts heard here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FB3XSZ6.  The survey will be up through Sunday, May 29.

 

Fiducial building in Downtown Manassas sells for $1.3 million

“The possibilities and opportunities it offers are almost endless”

ECU Communications, a full-service digital marketing and advertising firm, and Whitlock Wealth Management, a full-service Ameriprise financial planning firm, have jointly purchased the historic building located at 9073 Center Street in the heart of Downtown Manassas. ECU and Whitlock Wealth Management will share the second floor of the building, and rehabilitate the ground floor for future rental.

The unoccupied building sold for $1.3 million. 

Built in 1915, the building occupies a prime location at the intersection of Center and Main Streets, just two blocks from the Manassas train station and parking garage and surrounded by restaurants, shops and art galleries. The building will serve as Manassas-based ECU Communications’ headquarters and a second location for Whitlock Wealth Management, which has its main office in Lake Ridge. City Manager Pat Pate underscored that “the addition of these two professional firms to Downtown Manassas exemplifies the continuing diversification of the City’s business base, as more and more firms choose this historic, vibrant location”.

“We’re working with the City to make the most of the building’s location, history and character. The possibilities and opportunities it offers are almost endless,” said Jackie Krick, president of ECU. “This acquisition will also help ECU continue to grow our private sector and local client base,” Ms. Krick added. Bennet Whitlock, principal of Whitlock Wealth Management, concurred. “Not only is this a great location,” Mr. Whitlock said, “but it allows us to significantly expand our business footprint into the City of Manassas and central Prince William County, which will help us serve more investor clients.”

As an Ameriprise Advisor, Whitlock Wealth Management specializes in retirement and estate planning, wealth preservation strategies and comprehensive investment planning. ECU Communications specializes in digital and multicultural advertising and marketing, serving government, corporate and nonprofit clients. For more information about Whitlock Wealth Management, please phone 703.492.7732 or visit online at whitlockwealth.com. For more information about ECU Communications, please phone 703.754.7728 or visit ecucomm.com.

 

City of Manassas celebrates its business community in May

Recognizing that businesses are the backbone of Manassas, the Manassas City Council recently issued a proclamation night declaring May “Business Appreciation Month.”

“The strength of the City of Manassas relies on the strength of its business community,” says Mayor Harry J. Parrish II. “Our businesses create jobs and make the City a great place to live, work, and do business.” (more…)

Dance, improv comedy, music part of bigger Manassas Gallery Walk

Gallery Walk is back and bigger than ever in historic Downtown Manassas on Friday May 6 from 6 to 9 pm. Residents and visitors are invited to come out and explore all of the arts this vibrant downtown has to offer.

This year, along with stationary visual arts, there will also be live performances of dance, music, and improv comedy throughout the streets.

Partnering with the Prince William County Arts Council, this year’s Spring Gallery Walk event has attracted a larger number of artists thus adding excitement for all that there is to see throughout the evening. (more…)

Artists are being drawn to Manassas for the City’s energy

Artists are thriving in the City of Manassas.  

A once little known community, the City’s art programs are gaining recognition across the state.  Staying true to the City’s motto of having an “historic HEART and modern BEAT,” the City is no longer attracting artists based solely on its history.  (more…)

Live Well Festival to feature health and wellness activities, farm to table brunch

Spring has sprung and it’s time for the year’s first festival in historic downtown Manassas! The 10th Annual Live Well Festival, formerly known as Spring Cleaning Day, will be held Saturday, April 16 from 9 a.m. – 2 .p.m in the Harris Pavilion and along West Street. Health and wellness information, exercise classes, a farm-to-table brunch, and more will be available. (more…)

Manassas Farmers Market has more vendors, ‘Take-Out Tuesdays’

The City of Manassas Farmer’s Market is back for its 25th peak season. Running from April through early November, the market is open on both Thursdays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. The Thursday market will be housed at the Harris Pavilion beginning April 7, while Saturday shoppers can find all their market necessities in Parking Lot B, across from the Train Depot beginning April 9. (more…)

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