Monday, September 1, 2014     Volume: 15, Issue: 25
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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 6th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 52 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 52

Tourist draws get help

BY COLIN PATRICK HODGES

The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) recently announced the recipients of the annual Special Projects Grant sponsorship program. Every year, the bureau awards money to local organizations in an effort to support events and projects that generate tourism in the surrounding communities. Nearly $14,000 was awarded to six nonprofits that participated in the application process. And this is the first of two grant cycles in the 2013 fiscal year.

“Our Special Projects Grant sponsorship program is funded by the VCB in order to support events, projects, and attractions that generate overnight stays in local hotels and strengthen our economy,” said Gina Keough, manager of the Santa Maria Valley Visitor & Convention Bureau. “We strategically support a diverse suite of events in order to tap different markets and groups. This includes reaching out to meeting planners and sporting event hosts to grow the number of gatherings in the Santa Maria Valley.”

Planners who submit applications are expected to know what their needs are and the dollar amount they’re requesting. Planners may request up to $3,000, but funding isn’t guaranteed. In the first grant cycle of 2013, six applications were submitted:  Elks Recreation, in support of the Elks Rodeo held in late May and June; West Coast Kustoms Car Club, in support of its West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals event held in May;  Bent Axles Car Club, in support of its Bent Axles event held in July; Santa Maria Swim Club, in support of its Coastal Swim Championship held in March; Santa Maria Fairpark, in support of its Strawberry Festival held in April; and Unfinished Business Productions, in support of the Central Coast Guitar Festival held in April. All of the organizations received funding and planning services.

The sponsorship program covers advertising and promotion of any event designed to bring in overnight visitors. Promotion of the event/project must be made outside of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The funds may be used for marketing, graphic design, printing, radio/print/online advertising, or tournament fees. Target visitor markets include the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Greater Bakersfield/Kern County, and the states of Washington, Nevada, and Oregon.

Applications for the program are available to all Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce members and can be obtained by contacting the bureau. Applications are accepted the first Friday in May and November.

“The success of these events truly builds on our area’s recognition and economic well-being. We are pleased to offer support and collaborate on getting the word out,” Keough said.

Sun Intern Colin Patrick Hodges compiled this week’s Community Corner.