Efforts by local non-profit organizations and private businesses to attract more visitors to Centre County received a boost June 5 as the Central Pennsylvania Convention & Visitors Bureau (CPCVB) and Centre County Commissioners announced the recipients of 2019-20 Tourism Grants, according to a press release.
In total, 50 applicants received a total of $725,500 in financial assistance to use for visitor marketing and/or resource improvements to enhance the visitor experience. The funds will support major events such as the Central Pennsylvania Festival for the Arts and Central PA 4th Fest, and smaller events, including the Howard Volunteer Fire Company’s Punkin’ Chunkin’ Fall Festival and the Aaronsburg Civic Club’s Dutch Fall Festival, with a focus on building attendance through regional marketing and more.
“Centre County has tremendous outdoor, cultural, athletic, agricultural and historical assets; we have unique, popular festivals — some nationally recognized — and a variety of attractions that are appealing to visitors,” said Fritz Smith, CPCVB executive director. “The annual tourism grant program is an important opportunity to help these organizations and initiatives grow, enhance and raise greater awareness about their offerings in order to bring new and repeat visitors to the county.”
Smith said the 2019 Tourism Grant allocation represents an approximately $239,500 increase over last year, and includes nine first-time recipients.
Tussey Mountain Ski Corporation is one of those new recipients, receiving two grants that will help promote two events — CelticFest and Oktoberfest — to audiences beyond its traditional central Pennsylvania market.
“We are incredibly excited to be a part of this program and eager to begin work on attracting even more visitors to our area,” said Aaron Weyman, director of marketing for Tussey Mountain Ski Corporation. “With this support, we are now able to showcase select festivals to city markets that we previously were unable to reach. We remain committed to hosting unique, fun and safe all-ages events that we expect will contribute toward the CPCVB’s vision of inspiring amazement among our Happy Valley guests.”
Centre County Commissioner Chairman Michael Pipe said Centre County is blessed to have so many organizations that put on amazing events that showcase the endless fun and incredible environment of Centre County’s communities.
“Tourism grants help sustain the mission of these organizations and further increase the awareness about the events that help drive our local economy,” he said.
The Boalsburg Farmers Market/North Atherton Farmers Market is another first-time grant recipient, submitting an application for an initiative that will organize Centre County’s farmers markets under the CentreMarkets umbrella for marketing and promotional purposes.
“CentreMarkets is excited to kick off our local farmers market season with a marketing grant from the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau,” said Sabine Carey, officer, board of directors, North Atherton Farmers Market. “We’re pleased that the CPCVB recognizes the incredible value that our farmers markets and local agriculture bring to our area. At a time when access to fresh, safe and local food is more important than ever, it is CentreMarkets’ mission to connect our vibrant regional agricultural producers and food entrepreneurs with our local community and its many visitors.”
Commissioner Mark Higgins pointed out that the tourism grant committee received record funding requests this year.
“Fortunately, we were able to provide a record level of funding,” he added.
Smith said with the April implementation of the Centre County lodging tax increase, the CPCVB anticipates that more funding will be available for next year’s tourism grant program.
“Our ability to fund even more organizations and initiatives that are focused on bringing visitors into the county is one of the reasons for the Lodging Tax increase,” Smith said. “If the county’s individual assets and attractions can better reach broader audiences, it helps raise the county’s overall attractiveness as a tourism destination.”
NEW GRANT RECIPIENTS:
Boalsburg Farmers Market - $6,000
Centre County Pomona Grange #13 - $5,000
Happy Valley Music Fest (Lucky Dog Mgmt.) - $40,000
PA Parks & Forest/Friends of Rothrock - $10,000
Philipsburg Revitalization Corp. - $5,000
Pine Grove Mills Farmers Market - $2,000
Tussey Mountain Ski Corp. - $3,000
Tussey Mountain Ski Corp. - $3,000
RETURNING GRANT RECIPIENTS:
Aaronsburg Civic Club - $3,500
Central PA Festival of the Arts - $45,000
Central PA Tasting Trail - $3,000
Centre County Grange Encampment - $25,000
Centre County Historical Society - $18,500
First Night State College - $5,500
Philipsburg Heritage Days - $10,000
Central PA 4thFest - $60,000
Centre County Library & Historical Museum - $20,000
Downtown SC Improvement District - $28,000
Mountaintop Swimming Pool Association - $7,000
Mount Nittany Biking Association - $15,000
Nittany Valley Symphony - $7,000
The Rivet at Discovery Space - $5,000
Penn’s Woods Music Festival - $3,000
State Theatre - $25,000
YMCA of Centre County $15,000
The Arboretum at Penn State - $18,000
Art Alliance of Central PA - $2,500
Bellefonte American Legion Baseball - $5,000
Bellefonte Art Museum Centre County - $22,000
Bryce Jordan Center - $31,500
Bryce Jordan Center - $15,000
Central PA Theatre & Dance Fest - $30,000
Centre County Grange Encampment - $40,000
Centre Region Parks & Recreation - $6,000
Clearwater Conservancy - $4,000
Constitution Day Centre Hall - $5,000
Discovery Space - $18,000
Downtown Bellefonte - $9,000
Friends of the PA Military Museum - $12,000
Historic Bellefonte Inc. - $55,000
Howard Volunteer Fire Company - $2,000
Lemont Village Association - $5,000
PA Chamber Orchestra - $6,000
Rowland Theater - $5,000
PSU Center for Performing Arts - $15,000
PSU Centre Stage - $10,000
Palmer Museum - $12,000
State Theatre - $25,000
GRAND TOTAL = $725,500