Winston prepares for visitors for NBTF

Winston prepares for visitors for NBTF
July 27
04:00 2017

The Winston-Salem area is gearing up for visitors who will be attending the National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF). The festival, which will be July 31 – Aug. 5, attracts individuals who have a love for the performance arts by providing festivalgoers with plays, celebrity appearances, vendor’s markets and events that showcase the Winston-Salem area.

The visitors that will be in town for the eight days of festivities will get to explore the innovation, cuisine, local businesses and arts that Winston-Salem has to offer. Visitors can expect a great reception upon arriving to Winston-Salem with festival-themed incentives such as special coupon codes, drink specials and dining incentives.

Richard Geiger, president of Visit Winston-Salem, reached out to hospitality and tourism partners to aide in providing visitors with a warm welcome.

“We encourage any attractions, dining establishments, and retailers to warmly welcome out-of-town guests into Winston-Salem. This helps to show solidarity throughout the hospitality community in appreciation of these events that have chosen Winston-Salem as their host city, staying overnight in our hotels and spending dollars to help boost our local economy. We have collected responses from more than 15 NBTF ‘special offers’ especially for theatre-goers. We will print and distribute at NBTF host hotels, our Visit Winston-Salem guest information tables, and online through and our social media sites,” said Geiger.

To help prepare for the visitors’ arrival for the festival, Visit Winston-Salem produced 250 window clings to be displayed in all host hotels as well as restaurants and attractions in the downtown and surrounding areas. When asked who will oversee the welcoming aspect, Geiger said the entire city unifies to help “paint the town purple.” Visit Winston-Salem also plans to use its front desk staff and by maintaining a “satellite” presence in the center of the action to assist visitors with any inquiries relating to the NBTF schedule. They plan to have three staffed Visitor Information tables inside The Benton (formerly the Benton Convention Center), Downtown Marriott and Embassy Suites hotels to help guide visitors during their time in the Winston area.

Geiger believes “The North Carolina Black Repertory Company and NBTF do an incredible job assembling and training dedicated volunteers well before the festival starts. Visit Winston-Salem is always proud to support by advertising and marketing the festival to group tours and consumers at least a year before the festival begins to help spread the word.”

The Winston-Salem Ambassadors, a fairly new organization whose mission is to create and increase awareness of the city of Winston-Salem, do not have anything planned for the NBTF but are proud to have the world-class festival happening in Winston-Salem.

Mackenzie Cates-Allen, president of Winston-Salem Ambassadors, believes the festival is a fantastic event. “I certainly hope that the attendees enjoy what WS has to offer, and we are certainly available to answer any question or offer suggestions, at 336-794-6050 or”

Upon asking about the Business Improvement District, the Clean Team as Cates-Allen describes it, she explains that it is run by the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership with Jason Thiel as president of the DWSP.

NBTF volunteer Manya Stewart, employee relations manager for ESR, when asked what visitors should enjoy while in Winston-Salem, said, “Visitors should explore the Arts district on Trade, such as the local shops and restaurants. I believe they should also take in the historic Old Salem Bethabara. They even have a visitor’s center with shops for visitors to enjoy.”

Stewart plans to do more than just volunteer for the festival; she plans to enjoy the live music, plays and movies that the a/Perture will show and suggest that visitors enjoy some of the great activities and events that will be held.

Tamelia Pankey, kindergarten teacher for Guilford County, believes visitors should stop at Sweet Potatoes restaurant as well as Bailey Park while in town. “Sweet Potatoes is an amazing restaurant with great food and owners. Bailey Park is another great site because it is a great place to unwind, with food trucks from great eateries around the city parking there on most days.”  Pankey, who is familiar with the festival, believes the festival literally breathes life into Winston-Salem.

Visitors who need help can contact Visit Winston-Salem directly or stop by the Winston-Salem Visitor Center upon their arrival for additional information.

Visit Winston-Salem is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Visitors can call 336-728-4200, toll-free at 866-728-4200 or email at Visitor information including Visitor Guide requests, can also be found at

For performance tickets and questions about the National Black Theatre Festival, visitors can contact the North Carolina Black Reparatory Company (NCBRC) box office via phone at 336-723-7907 or email They may also look online at

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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