WTDA continues local marketing support

Published 8:39 pm Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Washington Tourism Development Authority is offering its support for local events in Washington and throughout the county.

Most recently, WTDA awarded funds through its marketing grant program to benefit the Washington Triathlon, Summer Slam CrossFit event and the North Carolina Sunflower Festival. After earmarking funds, WTDA awarded the triathlon $500 and Summer Slam $1,000 from its 2015-2016 budget, and the Sunflower Festival was awarded $1,000 from this year’s budget.

Tourism Director Lynn Wingate said the marketing grants program has been around for about 10 years, and the idea behind it was to create a uniform process for grant awards.

“We need a process so that we’re considering these requests equally, and we’re getting the same information,” Wingate said. “Our intent with the grant program is to help fund advertising efforts for events and attractions in the area, and not just in Washington.”

She said the goal of supporting various events is to help draw visitors from outside of the area and let people know what the county has to offer.

“There’s no set number on how many we can fund in a given year,” Wingate said. “Some years, we will have a lot of applications, and then some years we won’t have many applications at all.”

Jane Boahn, owner of Raised in a Barn Farm, which will host the N.C. Sunflower Festival, said she plans to use the grant money for marketing and decorating for the upcoming festival.

Boahn said the application process was not difficult, and due to the festival’s limited budget, she decided to apply for the money.

Among the requirements for applicants are the application must be submitted 60 days before the particular event, and a representative from the applying organization may be asked to attend a board meeting to answer questions.

According to a press release, past recipients of the grants were Historic Bath Site, Pamlico River Quilters’ Guild, Hunter’s Pointe Sporting Clays, Washington Harbor District Alliance and Smoke on the Water, Washington’s annual barbecue festival.

Boahn said it meant a lot to the farm to be selected, and the money will go toward an event that brings the community together.

Abby Harris contributed reporting to this article.