FALL RIVER – It’s road trip time.
As families chart their course for fun this summer – whether they opt to “Sail away on the Block Island Ferry” or embark on seaside adventures along Cape Cod – Viva Fall River wants to remind vacationers there’s so much they’re missing in between.
Enter their Take 5 Off 195 summer tourism campaign, enticing road-weary travelers to “Take a Break on the Way to the Cape” and take a spin around the Spindle City.
Starting Monday, a billboard featuring this slogan will greet drivers traveling eastbound through Providence on 195, at the Waterman Street exit, calling them to come fall in love with Fall River.
According to Patti Rego, executive director of Viva Fall River, the goal is to promote Fall River as an affordable, attractive rest stop where folks can “take five” for a few hours, en route to eventually cementing its place as a tourist destination.
“I think just the billboard will get people talking about Fall River and that in and of itself is an amazing goal … to get people talking about it in a positive way,” Rego said.
From the return of Fall River Farmers and Artisans Markets to Summer Evenings in the Park and more, the city is seeing so much activity this summer and Rego said she hopes to build on that momentum.
“We’ve got more events than ever, I’ve never seen a packed schedule like this, so I said this is the time,” said Rego, noting that Take 5 Off 195, which runs through July and August, was timed to coincides with Fourth of July travel planning.
While the billboard aims to be the big draw, the campaign doesn’t end there.
It features five custom itineraries with different traveler types in mind: History Buffs, Foodies, Waterfront Wonders, Arts and Culture and Family Fun.
“We really tried to get into the vibe of a road trip,” said Rego.
Within each itinerary are suggestions for restaurants, small businesses and attractions, accompanied by videos of various city locales that serve as highlight reels to capture people’s attention “so you can get a flavor of what you are going to see when you get off the highway, “Rego said.
“Some of them aren’t necessarily typical,” said Rego, noting that perhaps folks on the family fun tour stop at one of the city parks and grab hot dogs at Faneek’s. “There are definitely some surprises in here.”
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All are geared toward short stays, from one hour to four hours, and can be accessed on the campaign landing page, vivafallriver.com/take5. Rego said there are roughly 200 destinations included.
It’s even a great way for Fall River residents to explore cool places in their own backyard they may never have been before, she said.
“Take a staycation in Fall River. Just use our itineraries and go for a walk, you don’t even need your car. It’s awesome,” Rego said.
Take 5 Off 195 is also boosted by a robust social media component to help broaden its reach. Efforts include Facebook promotions, a Google ad campaign as well as advertising on GPS navigation app Waze to get those travelers who didn’t search ahead of time.
“We wanted to be innovative and really try to think about how to reach people once they are in the car,” Rego said.
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Take 5 Off 195 was funded by a $ 49,000 grant from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and a $ 5,000 grant from the Southeastern Massachusetts Visitors Bureau. No fees were collected from businesses or attractions featured in the campaign.
Rego said the response from Fall River destinations featured in their Take 5 Off 195 videos so far has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
“People were excited to share their stories,” she said.
And she hopes to keep that momentum going through the summer with other initiatives such as TikTok challenge and Ice Cream Bingo – inviting folks to visit various Fall River ice cream spots to be entered for a chance to win a prize.
“We’re just trying to be fun and keep people talking about Fall River in a really positive way, keep people smiling,” she said.
“We want them to see how great the city is – how great our community is – with the hope that their next stay will be even longer!”
Plan your summer travels now by visiting Viva Fall River’s website at vivafallriver.com or check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VivaFallRiver.