ALN Panel Addresses America’s Cup, Other Summer Events
The Alliance for a Livable Newport hosted a panel discussion on the America’s Cup races, Ocean State Tall Ships and other summer sailing events in Newport this year.
A packed auditorium at CCRI-Newport Thursday got a preview of what’s in store for Newport this summer during the Alliance for a Livable Newport’s “A Super Summer of Sails: What can Newporters expect?” panel discussion.
Newport City Manager and Chair of the Logistics Subcommittee of the America’s Cup World Series Host Committee Jane Howington was on the panel. So was Evan Smith, President and CEO of the Newport & Bristol County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Brad Read, Executive Director of Sail Newport and Chairman of America’s Cup World Series Host Committee, Erin Donovan, Executive Director of Ocean State Tall Ships Festival and Jody Sullivan, Executive Director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.
Jack McVicker, member of the World Series Host Committee and Board Member of the Alliance for a Livable Newport, moderated the discussion.
Read led his presentation by saying how “blessed” Newport is being based on the water. This year alone, Newport will probably see some 30 sailing events that will bring in thousands of tourists to the city, including the America’s Cup, Newport to Bermuda, and Atlantic Cup races, he said.
Read then focused on how Rhode Island rallied together around the idea of getting America’s Cup back to Newport.
The World Series, which will run from June 23 to July 1, will use “state of the art” carbon fiber
catamarans with closing speeds of about 50 knots.
The 23rd and 24th will be practice days and the 25th and 26th will be testing days, all of which are free events. The remaining days will entail racing from 2 to 5:30 p.m. and will be ticketed events.
“Fort Adams will be the place to watch,” Read said. “It will be harder to watch from the water.”
The Cup races, which will be televised by NBC, are a “completely new development.” The first live broadcast will be on June 23.
Read called Fort Adams the “prettiest venue on the planet,” which will be showcased around the world.
Ocean States Tall Ships
The Tall Ships event will run from July 6-9, the weekend after the America’s Cup races.
“It’s going to be an amazing summer,” Donovan said.
The Tall Ships last came to Newport in 2007 and was a free event. This year the festival will be ticketed at $12.50 for adults, $7.50 for children and free for childen under three.
Donovan said 200,000 visitors came to the last Tall Ships event and brought in $20 million for Rhode Island, which she said she believes they will match this year.
Visitors will primarily be dropped off at the Gateway Center from various satellite parking lots, including Newport Grand, CCRI, Middletown Public Schools, and Newport Public Schools, among others.
Celebrate, Don’t Hiberate
During his speech, Smith encouraged the community to not let the out-of-towners have all the fun.
“This is a time for Newporters to celebrate, not hibernate,” he said. “ There are two world class events coming to your town.”
“How fortunate are we that we don’t have to travel all around the world to find this incredibly dynamic event?” he asked.
Take a day off, invite your friend and family, rent a boat, he advised.
Smith also reminded community members that these types of events help drive money back into the local economy.
It is the travel-related taxes that are staying inside the Newport community that help keep the local tax bases lower, he said.
Events take planning, lots of it. Especially large, world-class events like the ones coming to Newport this summer.
Howington said all local organizations need to coordinate “to not complicate each other.”
“It’s a pretty amazing task to deal with all the logistics,” she said.
The logistics range from everything from parking and shuttles to signage and port-o-potties.
Howington said she has faith that by working together, the city will be able to make the summer events work well, but there will no doubt be an impact on Newport.
“We’re working hard to create a visitor’s experience that’s outstanding,” Read said.
- America’s Cup May Move First Race To New York (huffingtonpost.com)
- America’s Cup Considering New York City For August Race; NYC Surprised to Hear of It (blogs.sfweekly.com)
- TV Deals for America’s Cup (yachtingworld.com)
- America’s Cup Tune-Up May Shift From SF To New York (sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com)