The Southwest Virginia regional brand gets a reboot.
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Blue Ridge Folk Festival in Franklin County
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Blue Ridge Institute
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Last October, the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation unveiled a 13-years-in-the-making effort to re-brand the region. In a bid to boost its creative economy through cultural heritage tourism, the “A Different Side of Virginia” campaign will highlight destinations, including the Rex Theater, Abingdon Theatre Company, Ralph Stanley Museum, Appalachian Arts Center, Blue Ridge Institute & Farm Museum and more.
The group was inspired by 2003’s the Crooked Road project—a marketing initiative that established a 19-county, 50-town, four city trail celebrating the region’s musical heritage. The SVCHF’s lead community-planner Ben Muldrow describes the project as “the most aggressive regional branding initiative that has ever been undertaken in the United States.”
President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Rita McClenny, asserts the new branding will allow counties in the southwestern part of the state, which have seen a significant rise in tourism recently, to “join together in marketing what makes their communities unlike any other in the nation.” MySWVA.org
For a guide to Southwest Virginia’s creative economy, see our story "Spirit of the Southwest."