Congratulations to “The Little City” of Falls Church, including its economic development office and Economic Development Authority (EDA), for its robust and highly-successful effort to market itself and its outstanding restaurants and community assets to attendees of the 24th annual Washington Area Music Association’s Wammies awards fete at the City’s State Theatre last Sunday night.
Long-time readers of this editorial space will recall that for years we have chastised the City for failing to take advantage of the fact that one of the Washington, D.C. area’s premiere social events, the Wammies, have been held in its lap at the State Theatre.
We’re glad that someone was paying attention, and that the effort, buoyed by a $3,000 contribution from the EDA, joined with the recent conclusion of another EDA effort, the “branding” campaign that produced the slogan, “The Little City,” made a big splash at this year’s event.
The result was that, at the Wammies, the phrase, “The Little City” was heard over and over from the stage as Mayor Robin Gardner opened the event with a welcome, Former Vice Mayor Lindy Hockenberry presented one of the awards and other luminaries from throughout the region picked up on the theme.
Suddenly, Falls Church went from being an invisible component of the event to being a powerful presence. Musical types being as unpretentious and friendly as they are, they were delighted that the host city would take the trouble to acknowledge their big annual event.
Of course, in addition to the City, the Falls Church News-Press did its part, too, hosting the VIP Reception before the event at Argia’s Restaurant, a few doors down from the State. It provided an opportunity for the mayor and other key City officials to schmooze with the event’s VIPs, including nominees, presenters and the media from throughout the region.
This created, for example, the opportunity for Tinner Hill Foundation organizers to inform and educate the reception attendees about the annual Blues Festival that they sponsor at Cherry Hill Park in the summer.
The News-Press also provided gift, or “swag,” bags for all the reception attendees, more than 125 in all, that were filled with promotional items from local Falls Church businesses, and promotional City-related items, such as the Blues Festival.
Both the News-Press and the City also had full-page ads in the Wammies official program.
The success of the City’s and News-Press’ marketing efforts at this year’s Wammies should not be lost on anyone. It underscores our point that, other than providing for the needs of the school system, little is more important, and little can do more to bring new revenues and interest to Falls Church than to expand its economic development efforts.
All involved will learn from last weekend’s efforts better and even more effective ways of selling the benefits of Falls Church to those beyond its borders. Let’s see how this lesson will be applied to the Memorial Day Parade in just a few months.