Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New Durham Hotels Earning Great Coverage

As Downtown Durham sprouts new opportunities to live, work, and play, it's exciting to see two recently opened hotels earn national recognition. The 21c Museum Hotel and The Durham are abuzz in the media.  And well they should be.  

These two properties are great examples of adaptive reuse architecture - a hallmark of Durham's unique sense of place and something that makes a visit here distinct. 

"Welcoming new hotel projects to Durham is exciting for both the business community and those visiting," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB). "But remember," Green cautioned, "When a new hotel opens, all of their rooms come empty and it takes a lot of marketing, promotion and sales activity to fill them."

Construction is also currently underway or on the horizon for the yet-to-be-named Jack Tar and The Graduate hotels.  That means the current number of hotels (including B&Bs and inns) and hotel rooms in Downtown Durham is eight with 676 rooms and will soon be 10 with 901 rooms.

And that doesn't count other newly-announced  mixed use developments such as the 12-acre Hendrick Auto Mall site which is slated for an additional hotel.

What the national media, such as those below, are saying about these two boutique properties will certainly help.

21c Museum Hotel

CNN recently named the 21c Museum Hotel Durham among "America's artsiest new hotels."

The Huffington Post said that Durham has "one of the fastest-growing cultural scenes in the nation." mentioning the historic hotel building's "pedigree.'

Curbed said that the 21c doesn't have "your average hotel art,"

Forbes Life noted that "Durham has signature penguins—in fuchsia—which mysteriously move around the hotel throughout your stay."

Hotel Chatter proclaimed that "21c Museum Hotels Will Shake Up The Durham Hotel Scene Next Year"

The Durham

The New York Times reported on the hotel's opening, saying that the hotel "draws on local talents, from a celebrated chef to an indie record label, breathing new life into a former bank building downtown."

Condé Nast said, "The 53-room luxury boutique property features a buzzed-about restaurant helmed by James Beard Award–winning chef Andrea Reusing,.."

Travel & Leisure magazine, which named Durham one of the best places to travel in 2015, "loves the hotel's 'commitment to all things North Carolina.'"

In addition to the two above, the Residence Inn Durham Duke University Medical Area is also now open on Main Street between Watts and Buchanan and The Aloft  is now open adjacent to DPAC, the Durham Performing Arts Center.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

DCVB Hires New Director of Sales

A familiar face has returned to the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau in a new role.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) has announced the hiring of April Ellerbe as Director of Sales. Ellerbe will return to DCVB after two years of owning and operating her own event management company, New Century Planning.  Ellerbe previously served at the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau from 2006 to 2009 and again from 2011-2013. Ellerbe has been serving as the Interim DOS since March, 2015.

DCVB used Searchwide, an executive recruitment firm specializing in travel, tourism, hotel and venue management, which launched a national search beginning in March.  Local, regional and national applicants were evaluated.  

"April has proven to be creative, diligent, customer-focused, and everything that we were looking for in a DOS," said President & CEO Shelly Green. "Although there were many strong candidates, April emerged as the clear choice."

There will be exciting new programs and promotions as Ellerbe settles into her new role. She plans to take DCVB into new markets and bring even more group business to Durham.  

To lean how to plan a group meeting in Durham, visit the Meetings & Events page online or email April directly at April@durham-cvb.com.

Durham CVB Now The Global Leader

Durham's destination marketing organization (DMO), the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), has earned an exciting bit of recognition.

With 25 exemplary citations, DCVB is now the most lauded organization in the world for their work after undertaking an exhaustive review of best practices during the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) accreditation process.

In 2007, DCVB was one of the first 27 DMOs out of thousands across the globe to earn accreditation by the Destination Marketing Association, International (DMAI). In that bid, DCVB earned 11 exemplary citations for its best practices in destination marketing. An additional citation was earned during accreditation renewal in 2011. Today, DCVB is announcing it earned 13 more during its 2015 re-accreditation. 

The rigorous accreditation process destination marketing organizations must undergo with the Washington D.C. based Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) takes several months of preparation culminating in a thorough evaluation of almost a hundred aspects comparing a CVB to the highest standards and best practices of destination marketing.

Accreditation includes best practice evaluation in 54 mandatory and 33 voluntary standards including governance, finance, management, human resources, technology, visitor services, group services, sales, communications, brand management, destination development, research/market intelligence, innovation, and stakeholder relationships.

"We work very hard to be a cutting-edge and trend-setting organization in our field. To be recognized as a leader in best practices for destination marketing is tangible validation of that work," said Shelly Green, President & CEO of DCVB. 

“DMAP accreditation requires DMOs like DCVB to truly evaluate and define not only their policies and procedures, but also determine their guiding principles and solidify their importance to their communities in all they do,” said Jack Wert, DMAP Board Chair.

DCVB remains in the ranks of only about 200 DMOs worldwide that have obtained this recognition which is considered the highest achievement in destination marketing and management excellence.

DMAP is an independent, international accreditation body and a leader in defining quality performance issues in destination marketing. DCVB's accreditation credential is valid through 2019.

Monday, June 1, 2015

DPAC, Others Honored by Trip Advisor With Certificates of Excellence

Durham has long been known for its visitor-friendly features and attractions. Now some of these places have been recognized by a leading travel website.

Trip Advisor has announced the 2015 recipients of its Certificate of Excellence designation and fourteen Durham sites are included. The TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is awarded to properties that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. A Certificate of Excellence celebrates the accommodations, attractions and eateries that make these perfect trips possible.

Now in its 5th year, the prestigious Certificate of Excellence award recognizes establishments that consistently earn great TripAdvisor reviews from travelers. Many Durham attractions have consistently been recognized by this award, such as DPAC, Durham Performing Arts Center which received its fourth consecutive award this year.

The Durham attractions that were recognized included:
  1. Sarah P. Duke Gardens
  2. DPAC
  3. Duke University Chapel
  4. Museum of Life + Science
  5. Durham Bulls Athletic Park
  6. Duke University
  7. Cameron Indoor Stadium
  8. Duke Lemur Center
  9. Carolina Theatre
  10. Eno River State Park
  11. Streets at Southpoint
  12. Bennett Place Historic Site
  13. Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  14. Ninth Street
To see more Durham Certificate of Excellence recipients, including restaurants and places to stay, visit Trip Advisor's Durham page. Visit Durham's Must Sees or Local Favorites pages for more places to make sure to see!

2015 ACC Baseball Tournament Sets Records

It was a heck of a tournament, really. The crowds were decked out with their team's colors, the spirit of sportsmanship was in the air as rivals co-mingled in the name of the game, and attendees struck out on the streets of Durham to take in a city many had previously not visited.

However, since the ACC Baseball Tournament is making its home in Durham for three more years, the success of this year's tournament is an important indicator of things to come. News flash - it was really successful.

The championship game, held on Sunday, May 24, was completely sold out with standing room only for some ticket holders. The gate counted 9,759 fans, the highest attendance ever recorded by the ACC at one of their championship games. In all, the tournament drew a total of 64,140 fans, the third largest crowd in the history of the tournament.

"A tournament like this brings a quantifiable economic impact, and it's valuable to Durham not only in prestige, but also in dollars and cents," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), the organization charged with marketing Durham to visitors. "At $2.5 million in impact, this tournament is important financially, as well as for promotion of Durham," Green added.

One key to the success of this tournament was promotion, In addition to the ACC's promotion of the tournament, as well as those teams attending, DCVB sent a representative to many potentially attending schools to distribute information about the tournament in Durham. Those game visits were supported in social media with the hashtag #CatchMeInDurham as a way to leverage the similar sentiments teams use to rally fans about their efforts to get to the NCAA College World Series held annually in Omaha. While at the games, DCVB's representative distributed collateral and signed people up to win four tickets to all of the tournament games, as well as a cash prize. The giveaway was intended to drive visitation, as well as start a conversation with those in cities likely to send their respective college baseball teams again in the future.

Sports fans are encouraged to use the Durham Event Calendar to stay up to date on all the games happening here, as well as more than 5,000 events annually.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pompieri Pizza to host Lambrusco Fest 2015

If pizza, wine, Italian food, music and fun for the whole family sounds like a perfect combination, make plans to attend the first annual LambruscoFest. That it's being held in Durham, the Tastiest Town in the South, well, just take that as insurance that it will be awesome.

Durham's Pompieri Pizza will host a family-friendly food and Lambrusco wine festival on Durhams City Hall Plaza June 20, 2015 from 2 until 7 PM. The street will be closed for this outdoor event celebrating the breadbasketregion of Italy called Emilia-Romagna.

Festival goers can purchase a tasting punch card and then go around the festival tasting and trying authentic foods such as Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, real gelato (Italian ice-cream), Balsamic vinegar from Modena, various salumi (cured meats), olive oils and of course Pompieris Neapolitan-style pizza to name a few items. Adults can purchase a wine punch card to sample Lambrusco wines of all sorts. Food and wine will also be available to purchase as a meal during the festival.

The music at LambruscoFest will feature A Cappella singers. A Cappella comes from the Italian “in the manner of the chapel” performed by a group of voices without instruments. The festival will have a stage with sound system to allow the various vocal groups to perform that afternoon. The music is free for everyone to enjoy.

There will be a children’s play area staffed by the Schoolhouse of Wonder. Everyone of all ages is welcome to enjoy the food, beverages and music. The event will benefit Schoolhouse of Wonder and will donate a portion of the event’s proceeds to this nonprofit that develops kind, curious, and confident kids through nature-based outdoor adventures.

Like many of Durham's other culinary festivals like The World Beer Festival, The Doughman, and Bull City Food and Beer Experience, LambruscoFest is listed on the Durham Event Calendar.

Historic Russell School Plans Events in June

The history of public education in America is intricate with details, some of which are not that well known. For instance, it is unlikely that many readers know the history of Rosenwald Schools, or what they have to do with Durham.

Rosenwald Schools provided education for African-Americans in the rural South during segregation. Durham's Historic Russell School  is the last surviving Rosenwald School in Durham County and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Coming up in June is a chance to learn more about Durham's Historic Russell School at a Durham History Hub exhibition and Summer Starlight Jazz Soiree.

The exhibition coincides with the National Rosenwald Schools Conference being held in Durham June 17-19 and tells the story of the Rosenwald schools, with particular focus on Historic Russell School.

The Historic Russell School will also host a relaxing, starlight evening of jazz. This fundraising event will be held on June 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There will be music by the Stanley Baird Group, dinner, and a silent auction. Tours of the Historic Russell School will be given throughout the evening. The price for the event is $50.00 per person before June 5. Funds raised from the Jazz Soiree will benefit program development, restoration, and operations at the Historic Russell School. Tickets may be purchased online here, or by calling (631) 800-3487.

Learn more about Durham's African-American history with the African-American Heritage Guide or through the Black History portal

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

DCVB Recognized with Multiple Awards

When more than 9 million visitors come to a destination, it's nice to be recognized for the hard work that went into getting them there!

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau has recently been formally recognized for its marketing efforts with industry awards from several prestigious organizations. 

DCVB was recognized by the Hermes Creative Awards with a Gold Award for its publication of the Downtown Map and Guide in the category of Brochure. The new guide was redesigned with more photos and it was formatted so that it would be easier to use. The award recognition can be seen here.

DCVB also recieved recognition from the 21st Annual Communicator Awards with a Communicator Award of Distinction for a complete website redesign of www.durham-nc.com in the category of Websites: Travel/Tourism. A list of winners can be viewed here.

Additionally, DCVB has been named a finalist for recognition from the PR Daily Awards in the category of Best Website Launch  for the website redesign of www.durham-nc.com. DCVB is among 7 category finalists who are vying for the top spot. The winner will be announced in June.  See the award categories here.

The Durham Convention & Visitor's Bureau has been recognized with more than 168 industry awards in its more than 25 year history. The organization is responsible for all visitor marketing in Durham, North Carolina.

Blues on the Plaza Returns to Northgate Mall Friday Nights in May

The blues is back in Durham at Northgate Mall! After a successful inaugural season to its Annual Music Series, Northgate is kicking off the second season every Friday in May from 6:30-9:00pm with Northgate Blues on the Plaza.

This free live music event features local Durham and surrounding area Blues bands and is the perfect blend of family fun including live music, food, dancing, and local craft beer.

The schedule includes:

    May 8 – Jimi King Trio
    May 15 – Blues Rockets
    May 22 – E-train and The Rusted Rails
    May 29 – Mel Melton & The Wicked Mojos with John Dee Holeman

Listen to the great sounds of local blues bands brought to you in partnership with the Triangle Blues Society, drink local craft beer from Bull City Burger and Brewery and a enjoy wide variety of local food trucks. Admission is free. Seating is limited and visitors are encouraged to bring a chair.

Keep up with all the great music in the Bull City by keeping any eye on the Durham Event Calendar, and reading about it online.

2015 DOUGHMAN: Double DOUGH 7, Diet Another Day

If you like team exercise and eating for a good cause in Durham, the DOUGHMAN is the race for you!

The DOUGHMAN is Durham's quirky quadrathalon, and the event is back for its seventh year of running, biking, swimming and - most importantly - eating its way through the Bull City.

The race begins at Motorco on Saturday, May 23, 2015. Participants can register online while spaces are still available. Registration for the DOUGHMAN is limited and costs $200 for a four-person team.

The event is designed to celebrate the community and give local charities a platform on which to raise money (dough) and to tell their stories. In 2015, The DOUGHMAN dough-nation will support SEEDS.

Combining the elements of a triathlon with competitive eating, each team member with down a delicious treat from a Durham culinary gem, followed with a bike, run or "water activity" challenge of varying distances.

The DOUGHMAN is raced with a 4-person team in a relay format with each team member performing an individual eating+athletic leg culminating in a final team eating+sprint leg to the finish line. The race comprises 1 bike leg, 1 aquatic activity leg (requires some running), and 2 run legs.

The two running legs are normally 1.75 to 2.5 miles, the "swim" leg is a run followed by an activity in the water (not a lap swim), and the bike route is less than 10 miles. Here's the breakdown by food type: Running: meat; Running: vegetarian; Bike: meat; Swim: vegan.

Learn more about this event, and all the others that occur here each year with the Durham Event Calendar.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Battle of the Bands to Determine Durham’s Tour de Fat Headliner

Local musicians will have a new opportunity to play a 50-minute set in front of more than 6,500 people. 

Durham's ReverbNation has partnered with New Belgium Brewing  to host a Battle of the Bands, inviting local N.C. artists to compete at the Motorco Music Hall for the chance to headline Durham’s Tour de Fat this June.
Tour de Fat Battle of the Bands
New Belgium has invited four local bands, Dark Water Rising, Falling Through April, Spaceship Days and Nick Driver, to compete in the first round on April 30. Two bands will move to the second round and play the Durham Tour de Fat Pre-Party on June 18. New Belgium will choose one of the two bands to move on, based on audience cheering and participation. Online fan votes at www.newbelgium.com/rdu will select the second band to move on; voting will begin after the April 30 event and last for two weeks.

The grand winner from the Tour de Fat Pre-Party, again chosen by audience participation, will then perform at Tour de Fat on June 20 at Diamond View Park.

Pompieri Pizza Giving Away Free Pizza for a Year in Pizza Box Contest

Durham is the kind of town that supports the arts, and artists...and sometimes there is free food involved. The question is, how creative can you be for free pizza for a year? 

Pompieri Pizza, located in the heart of Downtown Durham, is launching its second annual Pizza Box Contest to give away free pizza for a year. Up to 5 winners will produce an artistic pizza box and enjoy a year of eating traditional Neapolitan-style pizza.

The contest runs through April, and time is running short on submitting an entry. Visit Pompieri Pizza any time the restaurant is open for a free plain pizza box. They will give one box per person until all the entry boxes are gone. Pompieri asks for a name, birthdate and email address in exchange for a box. The contest closes April 30, 2015. A panel of judges will select one winner in the ten years of age and under category and four winners over ten years of age.

Artists must decorate the pizza box and must include a fire/flame, pizza or a fire station reference in some way. The box can be cut, glued, painted, glazed, etc. Winners will be announced on May 1.  No late entries will be allowed. See the website for full details. Boxes will be on display in the restaurant as one of the 2015-2016 winners along with your photos, and then it will become part of the permanent art collection at Pompieri Pizza.

Also in April, Pompieri has teamed up with Meals on Wheels of Durham, and $1 of each pizza sold during the month of April will be donated to serve Durham seniors a nutritious meal. The featured pizza (photo attached), features a garlic and oil base parmesan and ricotta cheeses, strawberries, a balsamic reduction and fresh mint. So far, 128 pizzas have been sold, which is enough to feed one senior for an entire month. More info here.

Durham Bulls Athletic Park Features new Food and Beverage Options for 2015 Season

At the seventh inning stretch, Durham Bulls baseball fans won't be singing about peanuts and crackerjacks. They'll be cheering for donuts and beer instead.

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DPAP) has welcomed several new food and beverage options to the ballpark through its newly formed hospitality company, Bull City Hospitality.  Additional food offerings will come from Durham Catering Co., Rise Biscuits & Donuts, and Bull Durham Beer Co.

The recently formed Bull City Hospitality has formed a partnership with Durham Catering Co., who will provide food and service in the PNC Triangle Club and suite level at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Durham Catering Co. owner Tom Ferguson will also bring his popular Rise Biscuits & Donuts concept to the DBAP in the form of a donut kiosk on the main concourse.

DBAP will also add  Bull Durham Beer Co. an on-site brewery in the main concourse. The new craft brewery is the only beer company located at a Minor League Baseball stadium, and the DBAP will become one of just a few sports venues in the country to brew beer on-site. At its May opening, Bull Durham Beer Co. will feature Water Tower Wheat and Lollygagger, a Kolsch-style ale. Fans will have the ability to watch the initial creative process at games as the season starts, and then enjoy the fresh beers at the ballpark upon brewing completion. BDBC beers will also be made available to restaurants and events at the American Tobacco Campus all year long.

As the tastiest town in the South, it's no wonder that some of Durham's best food offerings will also be found at the ballpark. 

Carolina Theatre Launches Series ’26: A New Performing Arts Series

A new performing arts series from Durham's Carolina Theatre will continue to bring an influx of powerhouse performing arts to Downtown Durham.

The Carolina Theatre is launching an annual series named Series ’26. Referencing the year the theatre opened (1926), Series ’26 brings a parade of extraordinary artists to Durham for a host of shows during the 2015-16 season.

The programming chosen for Series ’26 features a wide-ranging mix of artistic disciplines: music, dance, opera, theatre and more. From recognizable stars like Stewart Copeland, Chick Corea and Béla Fleck to the exceptional, but yet unknown, artists in the touring companies of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Metropolitan Opera Rising Stars, Series ’26 offers remarkable performances sure to be embraced by the arts-loving audiences of the Triangle Region.

Season tickets are currently on sale at the Theatre Box Office and at carolinatheatre.org. Tickets to individual Series ’26 shows go on sale on Friday, May 1. The series will debut with a performance from master musicians Corea and Fleck on October 4.

Discover more about Durham's thriving performing arts scene.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Durham Celebrates Duke

Duke fans have been celebrating since Tuesday's historic NCAA Championship Men's Basketball win and now the community is invited to Durham to celebrate.

The community will come together to show a little Durham love to the 2015 Duke University Men’s Basketball NCAA championship-winning team with an event on Tuesday, April 14 from 5-6 p.m. at the American Tobacco Campus lawn and amphitheater.

Music and pre-event festivities will start at 4:30 p.m. with the Duke pep band and Duke cheerleaders. At 5 p.m. the team will be welcomed by Durham Chamber President Casey Steinbacher and then recognized by Durham Mayor Bill Bell and Durham County Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael Page. The team will be presented and Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski will give remarks.

The celebration is presented by the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Downtown Durham Inc., The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, The City of Durham, and Durham County to recognize and thank the team for bringing such tremendous honor to Durham through their excellence as a team.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Distilleries Hope To Sell Direct

North Carolina is one of only nine states in the US that does not permit the direct sale of spirituous liquor at the distillery to visitors. For Durham, that’s going to be a larger concern as two distilleries work to come online and open their doors this year.

There is a move afoot at the legislative level to permit these sales at distilleries, though. HB107 and SB24 are both up for a vote in this legislative session, and those in the spirituous beverage creation business are working to rally support.

“As we get ready to welcome Durham Distillery and Revival Spirits here in Durham, we think it is important that they be able to sell their products directly to consumers,” said Shelly Green, the President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) which markets Durham as a visitor destination. “With passage of the original bill in 2013, distilleries were allowed to conduct tastings on their premises, but the current bill takes it a step further and allows them to sell their products for consumption off premises,” Green added.

Spirituous liquor producers are working together on an effort to get the word out about a letter writing campaign. “From the visitor’s stand point, it will be a much better experience to visit a distillery, taste the product, and then make a purchase all in one visit,” Green said. “Currently, distilleries must tell their patrons to go to an ABC store if they wish to purchase products and that’s what this bill hopes to change,” she said.

The bills have bi-partisan support in the House and Senate, as well as support from restaurant and lodging groups. Those with opinions on this matter are encouraged to discuss on social media.

Learn more about Durham’s food scene online, and plan a visit with the Durham Event Calendar.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Durham Spring/Summer 2015 Visitor & Relocation Guide Now Available

There is so much happening in Durham it's hard to fit it all in one guide!

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau has just released the Official Durham Visitors & Relocation Guide (VRG) for Spring/Summer 2015 both online and in print.

The new Spring/Summer edition of the popular, digest-sized guide features new content and highlights the new developments coming to Durham as a part of the "Pardon Our Dust" feature.

Durham’s three state historic sites are also featured prominently in this edition in an effort to shine a light on Durham's offerings for visitors and residents interested in history. Durham, as the site of the largest surrender of the Civil War, is considered to be the place where the conflict effectively ended, and is the site of considerable visitor-focused activity in the coming months through April and May.

The printed guide is designed to assist visitors who are discovering Durham while on foot and is a companion to online resources like the official Durham visitor website.

This guide is distributed to more than 145 targeted channels throughout Durham, at NC Welcome Centers on interstate highways, and is delivered directly upon request through the website.

Guides can be picked up at the Visitors Information Center at 101 E. Morgan Street in Downtown Durham, and requested online here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Durham's Annual Tribute Luncheon to Honor Historic Sites

Every year in April, Durham's Annual Tribute Luncheon is an opportunity to publicly recognize people, places, and events for the role they play in preserving Durham's unique sense of place. This year, given the important anniversary upon Durham, the event is going to be especially exciting.

This year the event commemorates Durham's role in the Civil War, the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the end of which is in April. "Probably the most notable thing for people will be Durham's role in the end of the war," said Sam Poley, the Director of Public Relations for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), the organization that produces the event. "Because the history books essentially stop telling the story of the war with the treaty at Appomattox, most people don't realize that the war didn't really end until Sherman and Johnston agreed to the largest troop surrender, that of five Confederate state armies totaling more than 89,000 soldiers, when they met in Durham. Durham is where the war effectively ended," added Poley.

Durham's role in this nation-shaping event is really best illustrated by looking at all three of Durham's state historic sites, Bennett Place, Duke Homestead, and Historic Stagville. All of them will be honored for their inextricable link to what makes Durham the place it is today. The program for the luncheon will be unlike any other in the event's history.

The luncheon will take place Wednesday, April 29, 2015 beginning promptly at 11:30 a.m. at The Durham Convention Center. Registration for the event is available online where individual tickets are $55 each and an 8-person table is $500.

"The Annual Tribute Luncheon is a celebration of Durham, and we're excited to shine a light on this aspect of Durham's history," Poley said. Those interested can learn more about Durham's Civil War history online.

DPAC Announces 2015-16 Suntrust Broadway Season

Some people think that the Broadway experience is relegated to New York City's theater district. But they probably haven't been to Durham Performing Arts Center, DPAC in Durham, NC.

DPAC, has named the upcoming 2015-2016 SunTrust Broadway season the "Broadway Doesn’t Get Any Bigger Than This" year and the upcoming season seems to live up to those claims.

The SunTrust Broadway season includes eight shows, six of which have been recent hits on Broadway. The other two productions are launching brand new national tours under the creative direction of some of Broadway’s most accomplished writers and directors.

Three recent Broadway hits will all coming to the Durham Performing Arts Center for the 2015-16 season. “If/Then,” “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” will all be part of the next season. Returning favorites include “The Book of Mormon” and “The Lion King.” Also coming are “Cabaret,” “Matilda the Musical,” “42nd Street,” “The Illusionists” and “The Sound of Music.”

Season tickets are available for purchase now and individual tickets will be available at a later date. DPAC has over 15,000 Season Seat Members, making DPAC the country’s leading one-week Broadway series and the Triangle region’s #1 performing arts series. Ninety-five percent of all SunTrust Broadway at DPAC shows sell every ticket to every performance, and ticket information is available on the DPAC website.

Learn more about Durham's performing arts scene online, and stay on top of everything happening here with the Durham Event Calendar.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

21c Hotel to Open Doors on March 16

In an announcement today, 21c Museum Hotel Durham established their opening date of March 16, this coming Monday. There is a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 AM that day.

Formerly the home of CCB and SunTrust banks, the Hill Building, located at 111 N. Corcoran Street at the corner of Main, is an iconic structure that has been refurbished into a 125-room hotel, restaurant called the Counting House, as well as a modern art museum.

"A highly-anticipated addition to not only our lodging community, this hotel is a welcomed and exciting addition to our mix of Downtown Durham businesses," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, the organization charged with marketing Durham as a visitor destination.

In downtown alone, Durham has five hotel projects underway with the 21c the first to open. The hotel restaurant opened this week for dinner service and will be adding breakfast in the near future, and lunch service thereafter.

The hotel uses differently colored penguins for each of its hotels. The color chosen for Durham is fuchsia, as indicated by the brightly colored mascots popping up around town.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Funeral Services Announced For Corey D. Bizzell

DCVB made the sad announcement earlier this week that Corey D. Bizzell, DCVB’s Vice President of Sales and Business Development passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, February 22, 2015. Funeral services have been announced for Monday, March 2, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at Bethel Family Center located at 515 Dowd St, Durham, NC.
Credit: MPI and The Meeting Professional

A 13-year veteran of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Corey was 38 years old. In his role, Corey had risen to be one of the most recognized people in his field, even gracing the cover of The Meeting Professional, a leading publication in the meeting and convention arena.

During his tenure at DCVB, Bizzell, a Durham native, saw great success in inviting groups to bring their meetings and conventions to Durham. Those who knew Corey were well aware that he was, without question, always on the ball, always in touch, always thinking, and always planning the next move.

“A loss like this is just devastating,” said Shelly Green, President & CEO of DCVB.  “Corey had many friends here and throughout the country. We are all taking this hard,” Green added.

To honor him, DCVB is establishing a scholarship in his name for students pursuing careers in hospitality. Details on that will be forthcoming, but for those interested in making an immediate donation, in lieu of flowers, as Corey’s family prefers, please donate to the Hopes for Haircuts Foundation, where Corey was serving as the CFO.

DCVB will also post here a list of nearby hotels with special rates later this afternoon for those traveling from out of town to attend the services.

“We miss him terribly, and we thank you for your good thoughts as we process this loss,” said Green.

Hotels with special rates for those attending Corey Bizzell's funeral on March 2

If you are in need of lodging when you attend the funeral for Corey Bizzell on March 2, below are special rates and contact information for hotels offering them. This list will be updated as soon as information is available, so please check back often.

Property Rate Code Notes
Courtyard by Marriott
1815 Front Street, Durham, North Carolina, 27705
$79.00 Available Monday night.
Courtyard by Marriott
301 Residence Inn Blvd., Durham, North Carolina, 27713
$79.00 Bizzell Service Rate Available Monday night.
Durham Marriott City Center
201 Foster Street, Durham, North Carolina, 27701
$99.00 Available Monday night.
Fairfield Inn and Suites Durham Southpoint
7807 Leonardo Drive, Durham, NC 27713
$104.00 Corey Bizzell Family and Friends Available Monday night.
Hilton Durham near Duke University
3800 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, NC 27705
$89.00 CBS Available Monday night.
Hyatt Place Durham Southpoint
7840 NC 751 Highway
Durham, NC 27713
919-688-7800, option 0 for the Operator
$104.00 Corey Bizzell Family and Friends Available Monday night.
The King's Daughters Inn
204 N Buchanan Blvd., Durham, NC 27701
$50.00 Available Monday night.
Sheraton Imperial Hotel
4700 Emperor Blvd., Durham, NC 27703 919.941.5050
$99.00 Corey Bizzell Family and Friends Available Monday night.
Sleep Inn RTP
5208 Page Road, Durham, NC 27703
$69.00 Corey Bizzell Family and Friends Available Monday night.
SpringHill Suites Marriott
5310 McFarland Drive, Durham, NC 27707
$99.00 Available Monday night.
Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club 
3001 Cameron Blvd., Durham, NC  27705
$129.00 Available Sunday and Monday night.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Durham Hotel Lodging Availability

While charged with marketing Durham as a place to visit, live, and work, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau also operates the Durham Lodging Hotline during inclement weather. With many people out of power, or possibly stranded due to impassable roads or cancelled travel, DCVB ascertains hotel room availability and shares that information with the public on their website, www.Durham-NC.com.

“The Lodging Hotline was updated this morning and is currently as accurate as we can make it,” said Shelly Green, President and CEO of DCVB. “Available rooms get booked, and we will try and keep the information updated as the day progresses, but please know that these rooms are all first come, first served,” Green added indicating that those in need of accommodations should secure them as soon as possible.

As of noon today, fewer than 400 of Durham’s more than 7,500 hotel rooms were available. The link to this hotline is in the upper left hand corner of the Durham-NC.com homepage.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Best Seat Not In The House For The Duke/Carolina Game

Updated 3/3/15

Called the greatest rivalry in sports, there is no love lost between the Duke University Blue Devil and UNC Tar Heel  men's basketball squads. The rivalry between the two is as fierce as any along the 8 mile stretch of Tobacco Road, or anywhere on earth, for that matter, and possession of tickets to see that game is, to some, tantamount to possession of the Holy Grail...especially when that ticket is for Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University in Durham.

So then, where does one go to watch the game? Home is all well and good, sure, as are bars, but there the focus is only partially on the game. Plus, folks may want to get out of the house to truly show their spirit at full volume, and a bar isn't appropriate for fans younger than 21, the number of which is legion.

This year, a new option has emerged, and it's "beyond exciting as a visitor attraction, and as a development for fans already in Durham," said Sam Poley of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. On Saturday, March 7, 2015 from 3:00pm-11pm, Stadium10 Theater, Northgate Mall will show  Duke-Carolina: The Blue Blood Rivalry, an in-depth look at the Duke-North Carolina basketball rivalry. "We're excited that this game is now more accessible to all fans from individuals to families" Poley added referring to the $10 ticket price to attend a special documentary screening and then watch the game.

 "Sports are ultimately about fans," said Hassan Pinto who produced the documentary, as well as this event. "This event creates access to an elite sports match for thousands of fans because they can't see the game like this anywhere else," Pinto added referring to the fact that the game will be shown on the movie screens in the theater at true 4K resolution, or four times clearer than the typical HD TV that many people own, and on a massive scale. "I can go to the game at Cameron, but I'm excited to watch it at Northgate this year with my friends and family, and so many excited fans," Pinto said.

Basketball and football legends including Gene Banks, Dre Bly, Marty Hensley, Jeff Denny, Ross Cockrell, and Bryn Renner will walk the red carpet and attend a special ticketed VIP event before the screening. The VIP reception will feature food and an open bar with with a silent auction to include autographed basketballs, Duke and Carolina ticket giveaways and more to benefit The V Foundation in honor of ESPN's Stuart Scott. 

The documentary film will screen from 6:30:00-8:15 pm. Shuttles will leave promptly after the film to transport fans with game tickets directly to the Dean Dome for the 9:00 pm tip-off. VIP event attendees will have first rights to theater seats for the live game to be shown on all ten Stadium 10 screens. Tickets for the events can be purchased in advance onlineThe general public is invited to fill in remaining seats for free on a first come, first served basis after all ticketed guests have been seated.

Learn more about Durham's storied Duke basketball history or other sporting events in Durham, and share your experiences at this event on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Everyone wants to visit Durham in 2015 and so should you

Durham is a hot destination this year! With thriving arts, dining, and downtown scenes, it's no wonder that Durham is being recognized as one of the top destinations to visit in 2015.

First, Durham was recognized on Travel + Leisure's "Best Places to Travel in 2015," calling out Durham in its print publication out of 53 select destinations in the world to visit.

Durham was then recognized in Refinery29's article, "Why These 7 Cities Should Be On Your 2015 Travel List." Refinery29 called out Durham's "incredible food, a relaxed vibe, and cool warehouse buildings," along with its food truck scene.

Durham has also earned a #14 spot on Trivago's 2015 US Reputation Ranking, which examines global destinations to determine those with the most reputable hotels, based on their collective hotel ratings. Durham has top notch places to stay and it's always great to see them recognized.

Learn more about why Durham should not be missed in 2015. Request a free visitors guide or sign up to receive ideas for things to do and see right to your inbox, and follow Durham on Facebook and Twitter while paying special attention to posts tagged #DurhamFreshDaily.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Major Civil War Sesquicentennial Approaching in Durham

Consider this: 150 years ago right now, the Civil War's Campaign of the Carolina's was underway as the Union Army moved North and West through North Carolina to the effective end of the conflict at Bennett Place in Durham. A treaty was signed at a courthouse in Virginia, but in Durham the armies of Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida were surrendered for a total of 89,270 soldiers relinquishing their arms.

In Durham, history is really coming alive in 2015.

A sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) is an important mark in time, especially at Durham's three state historic sites; more than any other city in NC. Those sites, Bennett Place, Duke Homestead, and Historic Stagville, are all producing events to showcase Durham in the time period before, during, and after the war as they welcome visitors and give them a window on this nation-shaping time in history.

Information about bout Durham's role in the conflict, these sites and their planned events, are all collected on this helpful Civil War website.

Durham saw  the last use of artillery, the last casualties, and is the site of the last fighting in North Carolina, There are major events throughout the upcoming months. Check this webpage, search the Durham Event Calendar for history events, and keep an eye on Durham's Facebook and Twitter accounts and follow the #Durham150 hashtag to keep up with all the Civil War related stories.

Friday, January 23, 2015

DCVB Launches New Public Relations Bootcamp

The continued success of Durham as a destination is due, in part, to the success of the businesses that make up the community. Durham is the very embodiment of the adage that the sum is greater than the whole of its parts.

"Durham is strong when we work together," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB).

To that end, DCVB is starting a Public Relations 101 seminar. The free, one-hour session will be held monthly at the Visitor Information Center at 101 E. Morgan Street in Downtown Durham, and will be an overview highlighting easy action steps that are accessible to everyone. "Public Relations can be a very complex business requiring serious counsel, but there are some entry-level things businesses can do to get started that fairly easy to grasp," said DCVB PR Director Sam Poley who will lead the sessions. "We want everyone to be putting their best foot forward, and we think this session can really help them do that." The session will provide an overview of what comprises public relations, how public relations plays a part in day-to-day business operations, and how to dig in to some specific things like media relations, PR in social media, and crisis communications.

Space is limited to 10 participants, and those interested in attending should email socialmedia@durham-cvb.com using the subject line PR Seminar and list the names of those planning to attend, email addresses, and phone numbers for each to reserve space. Seating will be granted on a first come, first served basis. Additional sessions will be added to meet demand.

"With all that is happening in Durham including new hotels, major historical events, and more, businesses need to be shining," Poley said. "Good PR is key in that endeavor," Green added that she wants the community to benefit from the expertise within the organization. Future dates and times will be announced via social media and the Durham News Service.

Session Dates:

  • Monday, June 22 @ 3:30 PM in the Visitors Information Center at 101 E. Morgan Street
  • Friday, June 26 @ 9 AM in the Visitors Information Center at 101 E. Morgan Street

Reserve space by emailing socialmedia@durham-cvb.com using the subject line PR Seminar and list the names of those planning to attend, email addresses, and phone numbers for each to reserve space.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Duke Names Chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of Health System

Durham's Duke University has announced its choice for the top official over the Duke University Health System. This is another major milestone for Durham's continued reputation as a globally-recognized destination for those seeking medical care.

A. Eugene Washington, M.D., an internationally renowned clinical investigator, health-policy scholar and executive at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will become Duke University’s next chancellor for health affairs and the president and chief executive officer of the Duke University Health System.

Washington, will begin his new role on April 1 and will oversee one of the world’s leading academic and health care systems, including Duke’s medical school, nursing school and extensive programs for patient care, biomedical research and community service.

Washington, 64, currently serves as vice chancellor for health sciences, dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine and chief executive officer of the UCLA Health System, where he is also a distinguished professor of gynecology and health policy and holds the Gerald S. Levey, M.D. Endowed Chair. At Duke, he will succeed Victor J. Dzau, M.D., who stepped down as the university’s senior medical officer on June 30 to become president of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences.

Washington has been a national leader in assessing medical technologies, translating research into health policy and shaping health care practice. He helped spearhead efforts to change clinical practice and policy guidelines for prenatal genetics, cervical cancer screening and prevention, and reproduction-related infections. He also has been a national thought leader in calling for academic health systems to reconfigure broadly and to assume the lead in creating new models for research, education, clinical care and community engagement.

Learn all about Durham's legacy as the City of Medicine online.

Durham Seeks Public Art Committee Applicants

Durham residents with a love of art now have another opportunity to serve on the Durham Cultural Advisory Board Public Art Committee.

The Board, charged with advising the City Council on implementation of the Public Art Policy, is searching for three new members to fill Public Art Committee vacancies with two terms to expire on June 30, 2015 and one to expire on June 30, 2016. The Durham Cultural Advisory Board serves as an advisory body to the City Council and the City Administration. The Public Art Committee advises the Board and acts on behalf of the Board on matters relating to public art in the City of Durham.

The committee is charged with assisting the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development and advising on the implementation of the Public Art Policy. The committee also reviews proposals for public art projects brought to it by the City Administration and makes recommendations to the Durham Cultural Advisory Board regarding project approvals.

The committee meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. at the Durham Arts Council in downtown Durham. Members serve without compensation and must reside within the city or work within the city and actively contribute to the cultural and economic sectors. Priority in appointments will be given to city residents. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday, February 13, 2015 and applications can be downloaded here.

Completed applications should be sent to Senior Economic Development Coordinator Peter Coyle with the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development at 807 East Main St., Suite 5-100, Durham, N.C. 27701. For more information, contact Coyle by email or by calling (919) 560-4965, ext. 15205.

Discover all of Durham's visual art galleries and exhibits and learn how to do #DurhamFreshDaily with the Durham Event Calendar.