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(Image by: Kati Garner)
Some areas of Sacramento had an early Christmas present today. Old Sacramento, Sutter's Fort and the Old City Cemetery had 'glamour makeovers', thanks to being chosen for Tourism Cares Day.
"Tourism Cares Day is about 250 people come in from all over the country - about 100 of the 250 are from east of the Mississippi River - and we have a full team from Hawaii as well," said Steve Hammond, and CEO of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau. "So we put our application in. I think because of the reputation of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the reputation of Sacramento as a destination and specifically Old Sacramento as a historic district, which Tourism Cares focuses on, we were chosen. We are humbled and privileged to be chosen. We are the only one."
The 250 volunteers came to Sacramento on their "own dime" Hammond explained. They'll be tourists the rest of the weekend to see what Sacramento has to offer. The timing is perfect for the 150 anniversary event for the Union Pacific Railroad this weekend. It will be welcoming tens of thousands of people to Old Sacramento on Saturday and Sunday.
"Everyone will see something like a brand new waterfront," explained Hammond."A couple million people visit Old Sac each year." Work was done on Pioneer Park, the Old Schoolhouse fence, new and repaired trash cans and teams are at the Old City Cemetery and Sutter's Fort.
Hammond said they are grateful to Home Depot, Sherwin-Williams Paint and Shawn Eldredge, Capital Painting and Construction who oversaw the quality of the construction work done by the volunteers. (Image by: Kati Garner) (Image by: Kati Garner) (Image by: Kati Garner) Image by: Kati Garner (Image by: Kati Garner)
The Old Schoolhouse at Waterfront Park received lots of needed attention. (Image by: Kati Garner) (Image by: Kati Garner) Image by: Kati Garner Image by: Kati Garner (Image by: Kati Garner) Image by: Kati Garner Bruce Beckham, Executive Director of Tourism Cares says he is glad to be in the tourism industry.
"We in the tourism industry spend our time making dreams come true," said Beckham. "We want to make sure the dreams we are creating today are around for future generstions - children and grandchildren."
He explained that if you look at Sacramento and Old Sacramento in general there are so many wonderful things to do here. If we don't take care of them as an industry, then it's all for naught. We have to preserve the past and make sure people maintain their heritage. This is our heritage here.
"Old Sacramento - this is what people come to see and they want to know the histotry," he said. "I think Old Sacramento tells the history of the Gold Rush. It's the fabric of America.It's been preserved but it has to be maintained."
He thinks it's not just the people of Sacramento who want to see it preserved, it's people from all over the country.
Beckham says we are just people in the tourism industry who feel fortunate to be here and we want to help take care of other people's places beyond our own.
"There are some newtimers working but many old timers who the work year after year. They love meeting new friends and seeing old friends and you get to give back and really do some good," Beckham concludes.
Tourism Cares was formed in 2005 by the merger of the National Tourism Foundation, founded by the National Tour Association in 1982, and the Travelers Conservation Foundation, founded in 1999 by the United States Tour Operators Association. Tourism Cares, Inc., is an independent non profit organization which serves as a travel and tourism industry-wide institution giving back through scholarships and other programs for tourism students, grants to cultural sites worldwide and volunteer restoration events to give back to sites in need of care and rejuvenation.