By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: September 30, 2019 | 2:30 p.m.
PRINCE GEORGE – County leaders are celebrating the decision of Dixie Softball, Inc. to allow Prince George County to serve as the host community for the 2021 Dixie Softball World Series, reinforcing the county’s efforts to advertise Prince George as an ideal venue for sports tournaments.
The announcement was made Monday by county officials in a statement, who confirmed Prince George would host the 2021 Dixie Softball World Series for both the Darlings division (7-8 years old) and Angels X-play division (9-10 years old).
The Dixie Softball World Series in 2021 will host teams from eleven states across the south and, as the host, Prince George County will be allowed to enter a team in both divisions to compete for the title.
Earlier this month, Prince George Deputy County Administrator Jeff Stoke told county leaders and the community during the county’s board of supervisors meeting that a small delegation from Prince George would be heading to Tennessee to pitch the county to the league’s board directors, competing with other communities from across the southern United States.
“We look forward to hosting the Dixie Softball World Series for the first time in our history,” Chairman Donald Hunter remarked Monday. “The County officially welcomes the Dixie Softball teams, families and fans to visit the best part of Virginia in 2021. We are thrilled to be selected and support this outstanding event.”
Prince George County has been active in the realm of sports tourism, particularly when it comes to attracting various outdoor tournaments to the area, leveraging the county’s recreational resources in event-ready fields and strong lodging presence just off Interstate 95 at Exit 45 and along Crossings Boulevard near Interstate 295, which can support overnight stays for multi-day tournaments.
In May during a regional tourism event in honor of the 50th anniversary of the “Virginia Is For Lovers” slogan, Stoke, who has been closely involved with economic development and tourism projects during his time with Prince George County, talked about the diversity of the county’s offerings when it comes to tourism, sports included.
“We try to take care of different sectors,” he detailed. “When someone comes in for a sports tourism tournament, they are not going to be at that tournament the entire time as they may lose early or have a big break between games, which is an opportunity to go to Tree Time Adventures, go to the Prince George Regional Heritage Center, go to Swaders Sports Park, and enjoy other assets.”
Stoke continued, “We have a brochure that we print out for sports tourism that gives discounts at the different restaurants and activities in the county. Maybe you want to see a movie or its very hot out and you want to eat at a nice restaurant in Prince George County, we can accommodate those needs.”
In addition, those visiting the county and staying at local hotels for tournaments serve to inject revenue into Prince George through local lodging taxes, which goes into the county’s tourism fund and supports tourism-related projects in a similar vein to how funds from the county’s economic development fund, which receives its revenue through the collection of meals taxes, can only be used for economic development-related projects.
This is the first time since 2012 the Dixie Softball World Series has been held in the Commonwealth, with Powhatan serving as host for the Debs (16-18 years old) and Belles (13-15 years old) divisions that year.