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News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 29, 2014
Castine anticipates busy tourism season

As summer approaches, the businesses in Castine are gearing up for a busy tourism season. “Upping our game is important in this highly competitive tourism business,” Rick Armstrong, chairman of the Castine Community Economic Development Committee, said in a news release.

The town began last winter to identify strategies to increase business, which includes advertising, social media, website improvements, a new logo, and an emphasis on special events to be held throughout the season. Additionally, the town will be focusing on attracting small meetings, destination weddings and an annual Maritime Symposium to generate new business in the shoulder seasons.

“Now that the weather has warmed up, our phone is ringing more and we are starting to fill up summer rentals and our home sales have been much better than last spring,” said Karen Coos from Saltmeadow Properties.

After a long and cold winter, MarKel’s Bakehouse is looking forward to the 2014 season. “We are excited at the return of our summer friends and anticipate a very busy wedding and catering season,” said Mark Sawyer, owner.

Karen Francoeur from Castine Kayak Adventures said, “I am feeling pretty positive; we have already had several early season trips, instructional safety classes and a flurry of inquiries and bookings for upcoming kayak tours, including our nighttime bioluminescent trips, daily tours and camping trips.”

New ads have been designed, cooperatively sponsored, and placed in summer tourism publications including Yankee, Down East and Portland magazines. Anchoring this campaign is a new logo designed by Susan Parish Adam and Betsy Parish Lieser, a local sister duo with longtime family ties to the community. Under The Elms and By The Sea is a “tag line” that was adopted a while ago and is now being incorporated into the branding of the community. Local businesses are being encouraged to use the logo and tag line to help brand the town and cross promote each other.

Waterfront Wednesdays are a highlight for locals and visitors alike. Concerts bring people together for a musical event at the town dock. This year’s concerts include Danny and the Bluetones on July 9; New Trad Trio, July 16; Queen City Band, July 23; Trad Septet, July 30; Jump City Jazz, August 6, the 195th Maine Army National Rock Band, August 13 and Derrick Semler & the MaineLine Band on August 20.

Story Telling By The Sea is a festival taking place August 8-9, which will feature storytellers, musicians, comedians, historians and even clowns. In all, the two-day event will be packed with over 20 performances.Plein Air Festival (painting in the open air) will take place July 24-26. This juried event takes advantage of Castine’s spectacular, scenic landscapes which have been a draw for artists for over 150 years.