BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – The Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Brattleboro Alliance announced the launch of their new six-month Love Brattleboro VT marketing campaign to bring more visitors to this designated historic town with its eclectic shops and stunning location on the Connecticut River.
In a love letter to the region, Love Brattleboro VT kicks off Feb. 6, welcoming visitors with open arms. Focusing on events during the 10 days around Valentine’s Day, Brattleboro plays Cupid with curated and “not the usual” experiences. Love Brattleboro-style is a moonlight snowshoe trip with fondue by the campfire, a three-course aphrodisiac dinner, and a couple’s workshop at a world-renowned circus school, to name a few. Naturally, many of the events come with special offers found on the campaign website, www.lovebrattleborovt.com.
Designed to reinforce fundamental values of diversity, inclusion, and Brattleboro’s quirky, artsy, welcoming spirit, Love Brattleboro VT is a charge, a challenge, a statement, and a command. It’s a love letter from the town of Brattleboro itself to visitors, inviting them to fall in love again and again.
“We host more than 1,000 arts and cultural events in Brattleboro each year, and there is something for every visitor. Whether it’s the Harris Hill Ski Jump, Strolling of the Heifers, Retreat Farm Food Truck Round-Up, monthly Gallery Walks, or one of the many art, film, music, and dance events, the town is always humming with energy,” says Stephanie Bonin, executive director of the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance.
Tourism is one of the largest industries in Vermont, as the state welcomes nearly 13 million visitors each year. These visitors account for close to $2.8 billion in annual spending on lodging, food, drink, goods, and services. Last March, Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting backed the marketing effort when it voted to fund the project using a portion of the revenue the town collected from the 1% Rooms & Meals Local Options Tax.
“It’s time that Brattleboro captures some of those dollars. Brattleboro is uniquely positioned as a recognized top destination with arts and entertainment that rivals any big city,” says Kate O’Connor, executive director of Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce.
According to Bonin, the campaign will focus on entertainment, the arts, food and beverage destinations, the great outdoors, shops owned by local families, and eclectic venues.
“We’ll highlight our many locally produced foods, including award-winning cheeses, spirits, and maple syrup, local chocolate purveyors, brewers, and other makers. We have the culture, the farm to table restaurants, farmers’ market, museum, farms in town, an internationally acclaimed circus school, and tons of atmosphere and history. The campaign will invite folks to ‘live like a local’ for a day, a weekend or more – and love it,” she explains.
Love Brattleboro VT will naturally draw from Brattleboro’s strengths and its reputation as a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive community. To that end, the Love Brattleboro VT campaign will target a wide market, as well as a more specific LGBTQIA+ audience.
LGBTQIA+ tourism is a fast-growing market especially in Vermont. LGBTQIA+ communities have a special affinity for Vermont as the first state in the United States to adopt a same sex civil union law. In fact, July 1, 2000, Brattleboro was the site of the first civil union joining a same-sex couple.
“Visitors seeking a progressive rural community that always has its heart and arms open will feel right at home here,” says Bonin.
Penniless Projects, based in South Newfane, developed and will implement the Love Brattleboro VT campaign, reporting to a steering committee.
O’Connor said three members of the community marketing initiative project team will join her and Bonin on the steering committee: Curtiss Reed Jr., executive director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity; Lindsay Fahey, chief operating officer at Retreat Farm; and Zon Eastes, founder and director of Juno Orchestra.