Special events promote Ventnor as a destination

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VENTNOR – Mayor Mike Bagnell wants to make his favorite city a destination for vacationers and families.

Shortly after being elected in May, Bagnell put out the call to create the Ventnor Board of Tourism and Promotion, a vehicle to advertise the town’s charm and special events.

“I want people to know where Ventnor is,” Bagnell said Thursday, Sept. 27. “Once people come to Ventnor, I think they’ll want to come back.

The board was created and had its first meeting Aug. 13, according to Bagnell who is on the board along with Michael Einwechter, Patty Curran, Rand Snyderman, Peter Mokover, Howard Bacharach and Donna Cline.

Soon after its first meeting, the Ventnor Rockin’ the Thunder event was held on Aug. 17, providing music, sandcastle building and face painting on the beach at Cambridge Avenue during the Atlantic City Airshow Thunder Over the Boardwalk.

“The whole purpose is to reach out. That’s why we’re doing these large-scale events, so people who don’t live in the immediate area know what’s going on here,” Bagnell said. “At the same time we’re going to try to promote the various week-to-week activities for people who are here during the summer months.”

Bagnell said right now the board is an advisory board and is paying for promotion through sponsorships.

“We’re getting sponsors to directly pay the bands and pay for the sound system; so sponsors are directly paying the participants. At some point once the board is fully set up, we’ll have two separate accounts; one will be strictly any funds for the special events, they will have one account and a separate account for the revenue,” said Bagnell.

Bagnell said during meetings he is an observer and will pitch in ideas, but overall the sessions are for brainstorming.

He said the committee has four sub-committees: Event planning for large events, promotion for the city, fundraising for the special events and revenue generation for the city.

He said the revenue subcommittee will be looking at adopt-a-beach programs, for example.

“This will help beef up what we already have in the city as well as find ways to bring people in the city of Ventnor,” said Bagnell. “At some point I would like to have one event every month throughout the year. That’s my ultimate vision: every month people will say ‘Wow, I wonder what’s going on in Ventnor.’”

Board member Einwechter said he loves the fact the mayor created the board.

“Not only does it help keep the seasonal visitors coming back all year, but it will also put Ventnor back on the map. We have some huge exciting events being planned plus all the smaller events planned by other committees in town,” he said in an email Sept. 28.

One such event is the Ventnor City Autofest, set for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 on Newport and Atlantic avenues. The board also created a website, www.ventnortourism.org.

 “So with the tourism board now we can also improve city growth. The tourism board is more than just more events for residents. It’s about promoting Ventnor to all visitors and travelers. We may be a small town, but we also have a lot to offer year round.”

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