Looking For A Quick Trip? Maryland Sports’ Terry Hasseltine Has Some Suggestions

Looking For A Quick Trip?  Maryland Sports' Terry Hasseltine Has Some Suggestions

Maryland Sports Commission executive director Terry Hasseltine recently chatted with PressBox about the ways sports fans can enjoy the state this year, from world-class events to weekend trips to every corner of Maryland.

This has been edited for content and clarity.

PressBox: The second Maryland Cycling Classic will take place on Sept. 3. Given the success of the inaugural race last year, is that an example of the world-class events your team wants to continue to bring into the state?

Terry Hasseltine: Yes, it’s an example of the type of event we want to bring into the state of Maryland because not only is it a great competition and great economic boon (at a time of need), it’s also a chance for us to build a postcard to the world because of the value of Maryland, the importance of our landscape and be able to showcase some of the natural assets that are so beautiful across the state. The same thing (goes for) the Maryland 5 Star and being out in the beautiful, rolling terrain of Cecil County, one of only seven of those (5 Star competitions) in the world. Making sure we’re showcasing the equine sport once again not only domestically but abroad (is important). Hence why we pursued the World Cup with vigor like we did, because it’s a chance for us to use sports as a vehicle to also market and promote what is the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland. When we look at events both on the domestic level and the international level, how does it tell our story and how does it leave a footprint of growth and opportunity far beyond where it’s happening?

DB: The third annual Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, a big-time international equestrian competition, will take place from Oct. 19-22. What was the experience like at Fair Hill in 2021 and 2022?

TH: The first two 5 Stars have gone off with great success. The riders love the surfaces we are presenting from the arenas to the cross-country course and then the dressage jogging — nothing but braces from the athletes. We created a little small city out there. Every year we’re tweaking a little bit of the operational components to tighten things up, bring some more vendors on site. It’s a huge food and beverage environment as well as a showcase of shopping and other things. Cecil County has been nothing but a gem of a host. The leadership there in the county has been very supportive of the event. They’re out there not only with personnel, but they’re out there showcasing the county. They’re also stepping up to make sure we have the resources and tools to make the event successful.

DB: Where are some spots in Maryland where sports fans can take a day or weekend trip?

TH: Come up to the 5 Star, stay in Chesapeake City. You sit right on the water, great little restaurants. You can get the flavors of Maryland, and then a short drive away you’re up at Fair Hill watching the 5 Star and these beautiful horses in this beautiful landscape that is Fair Hill. It’s a great day trip and it’s even a great bed and breakfast type of environment where you go up there, stay a night or two and you can take in all this really quaint, really quintessential Maryland flavor.

Then you travel right down on the Bay and you can go into Annapolis and/or Kent Island, another place if you’re a foodie — great restaurants, great places to take in. If you’re there during the right time of the year, you’ve got everything from Navy lacrosse to Navy football to the other sports that are all in the complex. But then you’re right on the water in the sailing capital of the world in Annapolis, where we just hosted (the Santa Maria Cup), a professional women’s match race event at the Eastport Yacht Club. You watch these beautiful sailboats go out off the shore with the Naval Academy in the background and you get to see all that.

And then you cross the bridge and get into Kent Island, where you’re surrounded by water, surrounded by boats. The maritime life is right there and again, great restaurants. If you want to travel down the Eastern Shore between Talbot and Dorchester and going down the Eastern Shore, there are just so many little hamlets that just make Maryland special. You can be on the water or you can be inland doing all sorts of cool things.

And then you go down to Southern Maryland, take in all the historical flavor that is the Southern Maryland charm. You still can be on the Chesapeake Bay. You’re down in Leonardtown, you’re down in St. Mary’s and in all these beautiful places. Then you go out to the West and you’ve got mountains. You can (go to Adventure Sports Center International), a manmade whitewater facility on the top of a mountain. If it’s in the winter, you can go out there and ski or you can get out in Deep Creek Lake in the boat in the summer. At the end of the day, it’s kind of like America in miniature. You can get a flavor of everything quintessential America in Maryland, and you can do it with a day trip.

DB: Attendance should rise at Camden Yards this summer. Do you anticipate more fans from across the state coming in for a series and staying in Baltimore?

TH: I think you’re going to see a lot more of that. The fact that the team has a lot of energy and is playing well and is contending, that automatically raises the bar of anticipation of more people coming in, spending a night, eating in restaurants in the Baltimore area, coming in early, hitting the pubs and the restaurants that make up Fells Point and Harbor East as well as Federal Hill and then migrating to the ballpark for a night of baseball, then staying overnight and doing some of the attractions during the day.

DB: Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will play Camden Yards on Sept. 9, while Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks will play M&T Bank Stadium on Oct. 7. How exciting is it for your team that big concert events are an option, particularly at Camden Yards?

TH: It’s awesome to have the ability to activate the buildings on this complex more often than just for the sport for which they’re built. So having concerts at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is such a tremendous opportunity to showcase the utilization of how the park was designed. People can get in there to experience something beyond baseball. Same thing with M&T. Anytime we can bring in a concert or bring in some type of other competition — whether that’s soccer, whether that’s lacrosse — it just creates another opportunity for people in Maryland to have access to this facility that they helped build.

DB: FedEx Field will host an English Premier League doubleheader on July 30 featuring Aston Villa and Brentford at noon and Chelsea and Fulham at 2:45 pm How did that come about?

TH: That’s a partnership (with the Premier League) where we’ll be expanding on some of our World Cup bid legacy components … so that has definitely allowed us the footprint to live up to what we said we were going to do during the World Cup bid process — not just create programs that are one-off but create programs that can sustain themselves long term, whether we won the bid or not. Well, as we know, we didn’t win the bid, but we are still expanding on Football for Peace. We’re still expanding on the Let’s Play program, which is about bringing the game to underserved communities. Because of that match, we’re able to extend our relationship with (the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association) on the Let’s Play initiative and also working with our partners at Football for Peace to ensure that we’re developing diplomacy through sport.

Photo Credit: Eclipse Sportswire

Issue 281: June/July 2023

Originally published June 15, 2023

O Say, Have You Seen...Maryland

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