Star-Spangled 200 — Maryland’s multi-year commemoration of the War of 1812 — was a tourism bonanza that generated a total economic impact of $333 million, a financial analysis has concluded.
That total includes $196 million in direct economic impact and $137 million in indirect impact.
Star-Spangled 200 included several individually named events, beginning in June 2012 with the Star-Spangled Sailabration in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Sailabration featured a maritime festival that brought 45 tall ships and Navy vessels from a dozen countries to the Inner Harbor. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels performed an air show, and festival villages were set up around the Chesapeake Bay.
“The inaugural bicentennial commemoration had rave reviews, increased the local business volume by $97.72 million and had a total economic impact of $166.1 million,” according to a report compiled by market research firm Forward Analytics on behalf of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and Star-Spangled 200 Inc.
As the kickoff event, Sailabration was hailed as a success that set the bar high for the rest of the events still to come. It had the greatest dollar impact and attracted the most people (an estimated 1.54 million attendees).
But it was the finale — the Star-Spangled Spectacular, which commemorated the writing of the National Anthem — that was the greatest triumph for tourism officials.
Held from Sept. 10-16, 2014, the Spectacular had a total economic impact of $164.1 million — just shy of the impact from the kickoff event — and included more moving parts than Sailabration.
And, for various reasons, the week-long Spectacular may have actually reached more people than the official estimate of 1.43 million. All around the city, from Locust Point to Fells Point, residents crammed onto rooftop decks to watch the world record-setting fireworks display.
The pyrotechnics feat involved at least five sets of fireworks going off simultaneously from different locations around the harbor. For many in Baltimore city, the fireworks display was one of the most memorable aspects of the event.
Spectacular also brought 33 international tall ships and navy vessels to the harbor and featured an air show by the Blue Angels. More than 2,000 crew members from across the globe participated in a handful of activities, including tours of the ships and Fort McHenry, and PBS stations broadcast a live, two-hour bit on national television of the festivities.
Operating expenditures for the Spectacular totaled $4.57 million. Of the event’s $164 million in economic impact, there was $96.53 million in direct increases in local business volume. Additionally, the event generated $1.51 million in tax revenues for Baltimore city and $6.42 million in sales tax revenue for the state.
And to top it off, Spectacular coincided with major Baltimore sporting events that week.
“Star-Spangled Spectacular, paired with four Orioles/Yankees games and the Ravens/Steelers game, combined to create Baltimore’s largest tourism week ever,” Tom Noonan, president and CEO of tourism agency Visit Baltimore, said in a statement.
Several smaller Star-Spangled 200 events were held during the months in between the two anchor events.
The Chesapeake Campaign was a series of festivals held in waterfront communities around the state between May 2013 and September 2014. The eight biggest Chesapeake Campaign events drew an estimated 78,100 attendees, primarily Maryland residents.
Those events were held in Havre de Grace, St. Michaels, Leonardtown, St. Leonard, Bladensburg, Fairlee, Brookeville and North Point.