By Linda Farneth
Joyce Reimherr, new President of the Downtown Colonial Beach group, introduced herself to the Colonial Beach Town Council and gave her first public report on the current accomplishments of Downtown Colonial Beach.
Reimherr said, “Volunteers and board members of DCB have been laboring under the radar for quite some time, but finally some of our projects are coming to fruition.”
“The banners for Colonial Avenue have arrived and are really beautiful.” Reimherr said.
Placing Banners Along Colonial Ave. Has Been No Easy Task. The DCB has been working with VDOT and town officials, since the middle of 2018 to receive permission to place banners along Colonial Ave. which VDOT still maintains and controls.
The group will be working with Rob Murphy to get the banners hung after the worst of the bad weather passes. Reimherr estimates they will probably be hung sometime close to the end of March.
“They’re a good example of how citizens make a contribution, and plant a seed, that eventually flowers even though they think it may never happen.” Reimherr added, “Many people helped with this project, but it was Debbie Ey, some three years ago who found us the vendor we finally went with and who provided foundation designs for at least two of the banners.”
Reimherr said, “So now we have these beautiful banners which we hope will go up soon and spur further beautification efforts on Colonial Avenue. We’d also like to thank the Colonial Beach Community Foundation who provided the bulk of funding for the banners.”
The next big project the DCB is working on is the First Annual Osprey Festival scheduled for April 12 – 14th.
Ticketed activities will take place on Saturday, the 13th, but everyone is welcome to visit the exhibit area on Town Hill where there will also be bird-related children’s activities. Ticketed activities include bird walks, bird talks, and bird bus and golf cart tours of the osprey nests.
There will be bird-themed art at the Art Walk on Friday and a scavenger hunt through retail businesses.
Restaurants are being encouraged to offer Early Bird, Osprey and Featherweight Specials.
Saturday night will feature a “Grand Ole O’spry" Concert at Dockside.
Sunday, local state parks and historic sites are collaborating with DCB to offer bird-related activities which they hope will entice visitors to stay for the weekend in Colonial Beach at our motels and B&BS.
Early Bird discount tickets to the Downtown Colonial Beach Osprey Festival are now available at two locations, the Beach Shop on the boardwalk and Coldwell Banker on Washington Ave.
More locations are becoming available daily. The discounted tickets of $10 for an "Osprey" ticket (single adult) and $15 for a "Full Nest," (a couple or family with children) can only be purchased by check or cash locally through March 31.
Reimherr said, “Many of our town civic organizations have been providing guidance and support in many ways to help us create what we hope will be an annual event.”
The festival is being held to raise funds for downtown revitalization, to bring in visitors during a shoulder season and to introduce a new segment of the tourism market to Colonial Beach, namely birdwatchers.
DCB is seeking sponsorship to help underwrite the costs of the festival and will be selling ads for a souvenir program guide to increase Festival revenues which will be applied to revitalizing the downtown and commercial core, with an emphasis on preserving historic assets and small town character, a proven strategy for spurring economic development
Towards that end, DCB is working with the Museum and Historical Society to research the background of key historical sites and hope to place signage to showcase them.
“People may well underestimate the number of historically significant buildings in Colonial Beach, which according to a preliminary report completed for the State Department of Historic Resources adds up to some 20 plus sites.” Reimherr said adding, “We’ve also been informed by Historic Resources, that the type of research we are doing could reduce the costs of the survey required for the federal and state certification of a historic district here.”
Reimherr said, “We have a number of other ideas percolating to continue the beautification of downtown and expediting historic district certification, but right now we’re concentrating on working with residents and other non-profits to show the bird watchers that come here a great time during the Osprey Festival and to make it a big success for all of us.”
If you are interested in sponsorship, donating or volunteering please contact Downtown Colonial Beach, Inc. at 301-758-9493.