WOODBURY – The Connecticut Antiques Trail will receive the Connecticut Governor’s Award for 2018 Tourism Partners of the Year on May 9 at the Connecticut Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
The award recognizes two or more organizations that have come together to collaboratively market their offerings. The award website indicates that the award honors partnering organizations that have successfully worked together to promote Connecticut as an attractive place to visit, developed innovative ways to accentuate each other’s strengths, and enhanced the visitor’s total experience of Connecticut and our diverse blend of offerings.
Any group of two or more separate organizations that have collaborated on one or more initiatives to drive visitors/revenues to Connecticut is eligible.
The organizations that paired up for the award are the Woodbury Antiques Dealers Association (WADA), which represents 11 dealers along the Connecticut Antiques Trail, and the now-defunct Woodbury Business and Economic Development Committee (BEDC). The Connecticut Antiques Trail also received support from former State Representative Rob Kane and Woodbury resident Bill Monti, who was the town’s liaison for the former Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitor Bureau.
Karen Reddington-Hughes, President of WADA and former chairman of BEDC, will accept the award on the group’s behalf. Reddington-Hughes, who will also speak on a panel at the conference, said it’s a nice award considering that a lot of people don’t realize Woodbury is home to about 30 antiques dealers.
“Unfortunately, because of some local talk, people say antiques dealers aren’t doing well or that antiques are dead,” Reddington-Hughes said. “It’s very disheartening. I ran a conference in New Milford (in October) and I had someone from Litchfield tell me there weren’t any antiques dealers in Woodbury anymore.”
Reddington-Hughes said it’s a misconception that Woodbury is known for its restaurants. She said that restaurants are an adjunct to what’s going on here, but they haven’t replaced antiques.
“When word gets out that we don’t have any antiques dealers here anymore, we won’t have business coming here anymore,” Reddington-Hughes said. “It’s important to let people know that we’re still here and we’re still vibrant.”
Reddington-Hughes said the work done last year by the BEDC helped the Connecticut Antiques Trail regain traction. The ad hoc committee hosted a contingent from CTVisit.com, and that tourism group explained how antiques businesses could add themselves to their site and to the trail.
The BEDC also had writers come in from the tourism bureau, and they reached out to magazines and other publications. As a result of that reach out, several articles were placed in places such as USA Today, Yankee Magazine, and Readers Digest.
The group also got Woodbury businesses to engage with Connecticut Office of Tourism’s 2017 Connecticut Open House Day, a one-day statewide event is designed to showcase Connecticut’s diverse world of history, art, and tourism, and Reddington-Hughes said that Woodbury had one off the best showings of participation in the state.
Woodbury First Selectman Bill Butterly said it’s nice to see the Connecticut Antiques Trail get recognition on the state level.
“It’s always nice to be recognized,” Butterly said. “People know we’re here, and the antiques dealers around the country know we’re here, and people who are interested in antiques know we’re here.”
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