Should we ask the question: townies or tourists?
After reading the front page article about upcoming downtown events, one may have the feeling that Hammonton is a happening place.
The question I was asked recently was, “are these events for Hammontonians or are these for out-of-towners?”
Townies or tourists?
It is an age-old question in popular towns and destinations.
And the question has merit. I would rather be seen as a townie (no matter where I am than a tourist).
Locals support local businesses every day, even on the coldest day in February and the hottest day in August.
I love the Shore in the fall and winter because there are less tourists.
There is nothing like going to a new event in a new town or destination.
I love street fairs and carnivals. And have been to many up and down the East Coast. If your town has a flea market, chances are I know about it and I have been. Being a tourist is fun.
Tourists bring new energy and to be honest, new money.
See, I understand the question.
Like everything else in life, I think it needs to be a balance of both. Our events, both big and small, have to cater to both populations in some way.
Cruisin’ MainStreet is a fantastic example of pleasing both crowds. Cars owned by locals and out-of-towners line the streets. People from all over wander the streets. Locals know when to park their classic rides vs. those NFT (not from town).
The Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel just happened. And yes, there were times when it felt like all of South Jersey was between Tilton and Third Streets. But it is our event.
It is uniquely Hammonton. I mean, Lou Pantalone, sings “Sweet Caroline” like a champ. Not to mention that the meatball sandwich this year at the Mt. Carmel stand smelled and tasted so good. Your favorite church volunteers serve you amazing pork and rice. Plus the guys in the blue stand (Our Lady of Assumption Society) bring the fun to their sandwiches. Just look at the names.
Want to avoid a crazy crowd? Go for lunch or try not to only go on a wristband night. Go on the Feast Day and remember why we hold this event in the first place.
There are tips like this for the other jam-packed local events. I am sure each town has their own tricks for their big events.
So when you see some person who is NFT at the next town event, try and be nice and encourage them to spend money here. Just don’t share the inside knowledge we townies have.
In my Zoom meetings, I often tell people what’s happening in Hammonton. I rattle off the list of upcoming events and they are amazed at all our town has to offer.
They often tell me how lucky I am to live in Hammonton.
Yes, I am.
So are you.
Gina Rullo is the editor-in-chief of The Hammonton Gazette.