Kent tourism officials report full slate of activities on tap

Kent County Tourism Sales and Events Manager John Doerfler opens the Tourism Talk held Feb. 19 at the Delaware State Police Museum in Dover. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

DOVER — After snow canceled last month’s Kent County Tourism Talk, there was plenty to cover at Tuesday’s gathering.

Before touring the host Delaware State Police Museum with new Executive Director Peggy L. Anderson taking the lead, the 30 or so attendees got a leadership search update, learned of proactive marketing pushes, big weekends ahead and more.

Delaware International Speedway’s Gary Camp filled in those in the conference room about the ongoing process to fill KCT’s vacant president’s position — pre-screening phone interviews and in-person interviews will determine who emerges as the choice, likely in March.

Delaware Bayshore Byway Program Coordinator Michael C. Hahn speaks at the Kent County Tourism Talk Forum held Feb. 19 at the Delaware State Police Museum in Dover. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

Venturing to the most recent American Bus Association’s annual marketplace meeting for a second straight year, KCT Sales and Events Manager John Doerfler said he had over 20 one on one visits with members of the group travel via motor coach industry. Of particular interest were locations within a four-hour radius of Kent County said.

“They’re looking for itineraries, they’re looking for things to do,” Mr. Doerfler reported.

On a similar note, a Maryland Motorcoach Association reception for group tour leaders will be held March 27 at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, followed by another day of activities.

South Frederica’s DE Turf has posted it’s tournament schedule online at deturf.com and Mr. Doerfler said, “It’s every weekend. They are driving a lot of visitors here.

“There are a lot of teams from out of state coming.”

The organization’s nationally recognized Certified Tourism Ambassador Program gained 120 members in under a year, smashing the initial goal of 50. Volunteer members join the KCT mobile visitor center “Villager” vehicle at events to promote the area and ongoing activities at the site.

“We want to greet folks with a welcoming attitude and try to create an impression with them that leaves a good feeling about their stay in Kent County that makes them want to return,” program director Juli Maichle said.

A four-hour class is required to become an ambassador along with passing a 27-question open book examination that’s graded on the spot. There is a one-time non-refundable, non-transferable application fee of $30 per person and an annual renewal fee of $30 person. An annual re-certification process is required.

According to the CTA manual online, “The program teaches front-line employees and volunteers best practices and ensures that they understand their role in increasing tourism.

“Delaware’s Quaint Villages Tourism Ambassadors helps your front-line increase their knowledge of the region; provides answers to the variety of questions received from visitors; and gives your front-line a chance to meet one another, learn from each other’s experiences and celebrate together.”

The next ambassador training program is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, March 20 in Dover. More information on the location is available online at visitdelawarevillages.com.

Big weekends ahead

Vendor space and sponsorships remain available for the Downtown Dover Days celebration on Saturday, May 4, the middle of a most busy weekend for events and activities:

•It’s NASCAR weekend May 3-5 at the Dover speedway, with the a 50th anniversary celebration of the Monster Mile and 100th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race adding to the fun. Notable past drivers will attend, along with the Harlem Globetrotters. Outside the oval FanZone activities are free and open to the public.

The JEGS 200 Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race runs Friday (green flag at 5 p.m., checkered to be determined), followed by the Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash Race Saturday (1:30 p.m. start) and NASCAR Cup Series Race Sunday (2 p.m.). Tickets can be purchased online at doverspeedway.com.

•The 16th annual Milford Bug and Bud Festival is slated for the Kent and Sussex County border town. The upcoming event is described at downtownmilford.org.

•The Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover will commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, complete with two paratroopers who landed during the allied invasion of France. The museum’s website is amcmuseum.org.

•The “Running From The Greenheads” 5K Run/Walk debts in Slaughter Beach on May 5. Further details are available at slaughterbeach.delaware.gov.

“We need volunteers,” Mr. Doerfler said. “Anyone who has a day off, we can use your help.”

•The Fifer Orchard Strawberry Festival in Camden-Wyoming follows on May 18, and the customer appreciation day is set for Aug. 10. The orchard opens April 5.

Online information is available at fiferorchards.com.

•Large crowds are expected for the Firefly Music Festival (fireflyfestival.com) in Dover on June 21-23, Delaware State Fair (delawarestatefair.com) in Harrington running July 19-28.

•The seventh annual Bowers Beach Buccaneer Bash is set for May 25-26, and includes live music, scavenger and treasure hunts, pirate trading cards, horses, train ride and boat cruises. The day is hosted by the Maritime Museum in North Bowers. The event is described online as an “Encampment of pirate reenactors doing demonstrations and skits to educate about the pirates of the Delaware Bay. Vendors, food, music and activities for adults and children.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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