Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

March 26, 2013

10 tourism grants awarded

Debbie Blank
The Herald-Tribune

— BROOKVILLE – The Franklin County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission allotted $10,600 March 18 accumulated in its 5 percent innkeepers tax fund to help draw tourists, who will spend money within the county as they travel to events.

Ten attractions received the same or higher grant amounts compared to 2012:

• Canoefest, Brookville, $3,000, up from $2,500, for advertising costs, including flyers and brochures. Organizer Tara Keys wants to make the June 28-29 festival more family oriented, with booths for water safety, archery and other outdoor recreation. Member Mike Ormsby , Brookville, reported, “Canoefest is kind of getting a life of its own.” Those who enjoy it bring their friends the next summer.

• Whitewater Valley Gateway Park Bluegrass Festival, Metamora, $1,500. The third annual event, on the same weekend as Canoefest, will be expanded to four days, with workshops, vendors and more headliners than in the past, organizer Candy Yurcak told FCCRVC Feb. 18.

• Franklin County Antique Machinery Show, Brookville, $1,500, up from $1,000, for advertising in national tractor magazines. The event, slated for Sept. 26-29, gets bigger every year.

• Freudenfest, Oldenburg, $1,000, up from $350. The German heritage weekend will take place July 19-20. According to Vice President Tim Ziemke, Batesville, the Hampton Inn’s 100 rooms are full that weekend. About 15,000 attended last year.

•  Metamora Old-Time Music Festival, $1,000, up from $600, for promotion. The Aug. 31-Sept. 1 weekend will boast 45 musical groups on three stages, plus acoustic music workshops and demonstrations. Member Catrina Campbell, Metamora, noted, “That brings in almost exclusively out-of-towners .... We even get recording artists from Nashville, Tenn., who bring in a fan base. I’ve seen it just grow ridiculously every year.”

• Holiday Under the Spires, Oldenburg, $800, up from $586, for radio ads. The Dec. 7 celebration typically offers a breakfast with Santa, Jingle Bell Jog, cookie walk, shopping, dining and live music.

• The Whitewater Canal State Historical Site Towpath 10K Dash and Fun Run, Metamora, $500, up from $400, for advertising costs. President Natasha Turner said, “I know that it brings in outside people” among 110 runners last year. The activity is scheduled for May 18.

• Franklin County Young Farmers’ Truck and Tractor Pull, $500, for Brookville banner, lighted portable signs and radio spot.

• John and Diana Korner’s Holiday Lights Display, Brookville, $500. Over 4,715 visitors signed their guestbook after viewing 60,000 lights last December. Because the state code says tourism commissions can fund nonprofits only, the grant will be funnelled through the Brookville/Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.

• Franklin County Extension Homemakers Quilt Show, Brookville, $300, for advertising. The event, slated for May 17-18, featured about 100 quilts last year. The “overwhelming majority” of attendees were county residents, unlikely to spend dollars on lodging, according to Turner.

When they were finished, FCCRVC business relations specialist Mikel Beck reported, “You are under budget .... You have ... ($400) to spare.” Ziemke answered, “I think that’s a pretty fair distribution.”

Earlier, the panel had approved three grants that used up the rest of the $12,500 grants budget: $1,000 to Brookville Main Street to attract tourists to upcoming Brookville Third Fridays; $400 to help fund tourism efforts at nearby I-74 rest stops; $100 dues to Whitewater Canal Byway Association to  help promote the region.

ADVERTISING DECISIONS

• A permanent tourism display will travel to county events. Turner will organize volunteers for Canoefest and Freudenfest. Ormsby proposed earmarking $500 for the display and two prizes for each event: an overnight stay voucher at a B-and-B or hotel of the winner’s choice; and gift certificate to the restaurant of choice. Those entering for prizes will take a survey and submit e-mail and hometown addresses. Out-of-staters will receive future e-mails from the commission about county activities.

• Two companies competed to design a 24-page color brochure touting county assets: Kendel George of Heavenbound Customs, Brookville; and Ranee Hinton and Kami Ohmer of Be Big Studios, Harrison, Ohio. The commission awarded the project to George, who estimated it will cost $1,600. Ormsby wanted more specific presentations from both firms about online pieces.

• To advertise county bed-and-breakfasts, member Jo Ball, Metamora, investigated Web sites and recommended the online national site BnBFinder.com. The board will offer each B-and-B the opportunity to choose a level of site membership ($129, $199 or $299 annually), then FCCRVC will reimburse half of the cost, Beck explained.

• Ken Brown, who owns the Web site Brookvillelake.com, approached the commission about advertising in the first annual Brookville Laker magazine, which will promote county recreation, dining, lodging, events and real estate. He will distribute 30,000 copies to rest areas, regional chambers and popular locations. Turner proposed buying a two-page ad costing $2,296, but Campbell was in favor of a one-page ad at first. With a wait-and-see attitude, the commission may advertise next year.

• Beck asked if FCCRVC wanted to advertise in Travel Indiana, “a beautiful, beautiful magazine” that reaches 100,000 every three months. It is distributed in hotel rooms, grocery stores, 28 Indiana visitors centers, three college campuses and 500 businesses. They voted to have George create a half-page ad for the July-September issue and a quarter-page ad for the October-December one.