For 50 days this spring, the region will sponsor various events recognizing the half-century of ‘Virginia Is For Lovers’

A group promoting tourism in the Tri-City Atra has received a state grant as part of the 50th anniversary of the “Virginia Is For Lovers” slogan.

The $10,000 grant from Virginia Tourism Corp. will help pay for a 50-day campaign this spring by Petersburg Area Regional Tourism, “Love Happens in the Best PART of Virginia.” Between April 20 and June 8, PART is sponsoring a series of festivals and sporting events throughout the area, beginning with the Wonder City Craft Beer Festival April 20 in Hopewell and concluding with a performance by the Virginia Opera June 8 at Battersea Plantation in Petersburg.

Other events on that agenda include concerts at the Beacon Theatre in Hopewell, activities at numerous historic sites throughout the area, and a spotlight on special culinary offerings from local restaurants celebrating the anniversary.

“PART is so grateful to VTC for recognizing the excitement that has erupted about this 50-year celebration,” Martha Burton, PART’s tourism director, said in a statement. Burton said the grant money will be used to “celebrate and share the authentic experiences and stories” unique to the area.

“Our mission is to create ambassadors out of our visitors here so that when they go home, they have wonderful stories and memories to share with others,” Burton said in the statement.

VTC awarded a total of $390,000 to 39 tourism marketing programs across Virginia. Each program received $10,000 with the stipulation that the group has to engage 10 or more partners in its celebration efforts.

In a statement, Rita McClenny, president and CEO of VTC, called the Virginia Is For Lovers campaign “one of the most iconic tourism slogans in the world,” McClenny said the grant program gives localities across the state a chance “to showcase what makes a vacation in Virginia so special.”

The slogan was launched in 1969 by a Richmond advertising firm.

For a complete list of PART’s events celebrating the 59th anniversary of the slogan, go to www.petersburgarea.org.

By Bill Atkinson
Assistant Editor, Progress-Index

Bill Atkinson may be reached at 804-722-5167 or
 batkinson@progress-index.com. On Twitter: @BAtkinsonpi.