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Bringing the family to Baltimore

This Saturday, Visit Baltimore will showcase the city as the place to go for bringing the family together.

With hotel information, food tastings, family games, line dancing lessons and many other activities, the inaugural Baltimore Family Reunion Expo on Saturday will serve any family. But it could be especially helpful for African-American families.

Sara Warfield, vice president of communications for Visit Baltimore, says that the primary audience for family reunion events is the African-American community. Visit Baltimore teamed up with greiBO Entertainment, producer of the African American Festival, to plan the expo.

“It’s a great opportunity for Baltimore … to share some of our compelling African American stories and really bring those to life at the expo,” said Warfield.

The city offers specific attractions that appeal to African-American families, such as the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History & Culture. The expo itself will take place in the Frederick Douglass-Issac Myers Maritime Park, a site named for two black leaders of Baltimore.

The event will have the atmosphere of a trade show or bridal show, with a wide variety of vendors. In addition to general planning resources, the expo will feature a R&B performance by Chico Debarge, a genealogy reveal with actor Clifton Davis of the television series “Amen,” and a seminar on relationships with Bern NaDette Stanis, author and former star of the television show “Good Times.”

A 2011 study by Mandala Research  sponsored by Visit Baltimore and several other organizations, found that African-Americans who travel 50 or more miles for an overnight trip take cultural heritage into account when choosing their destination.

Being a family reunion destination can be lucrative. Research from Temple University found that a majority of family reunion attendees stay two or more nights in an area hotel.

Warfield said she has already heard positive feedback from family reunion planners about the event.

“We thought this would be a good opportunity to give something tangible,” she said, “for those people looking to plan a family reunion or really any large gathering.”