CVB to finalize festival funding Monday

December 12, 2012 10:36:51 AM

Jeff Clark - [email protected]


Festival grant funding for the first half of 2013 will top the agenda Monday at the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau's monthly board of trustees meeting. 


CVB Executive Director Nancy Carpenter said the grant committee made its funding recommendations Nov. 27, and the board will vote on them during Monday's meeting. 


This is the first time the committee and the board have divided the funding requests into two rounds. A second round of funding for festivals slated for the second half of 2013 will be conducted in early spring. Festival funding is also now divided into two categories -- tourism events and quality of life events. 


"Tourism events can be funded a maximum of $15,000, and they must spend 25 percent of their money on marketing and advertising," Carpenter said. "Each day, the event should draw visitors from greater than 100 miles of Columbus to stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores. Quality of life events can be funded up to $8,000. All applicants must have paperwork from the secretary of state showing they are a nonprofit organization."  


Tourism events applying for 2013 funding were Market Street Festival, Juneteenth Festival, Grilling on the River and the new Memphis BBQ Invitational. Quality of life events applying for funding were Artesia Days, Townsend Blues Festival and Crawford Cotton Boll.  


The Juneteenth Festival, organized by District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks, also applied for a quality of life grant. 


Two of Columbus' larger tourism events, Market Street Festival and Juneteenth, both requested $15,000 in funding, and the grant committee recommended each organization receive its requested amount. 


The Townsend Blues Festival, organized by Ward 1 City Councilman Gene Taylor and Lowndes County District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith, received $12,000 last year but applied as a quality of life event for 2013 under the new guidelines.  


The blues festival requested the full $8,000 and the committee recommended it receive the full amount, Carpenter said. 


Crawford Cotton Boll, which is a quality of life event, received $4,500 last year. Although festival organizers recommended it receive $8,000, the committee voted to fund it at $6,500. 


One new event, the Memphis BBQ Invitational, applied as a tourism event and requested $14,950. The event will be held March 6-9 at the Columbus Fairgrounds.  


The event has been held previously at Olive Branch and Tunica. It will consist of 60 to 75 teams which will compete in a barbecue cook-off.  


The grant committee recommended it be funded at $9,000. Grilling on the River and Artesia Days are recommended to receive $8,000 in funding. 


If the board votes to approve the recommended funding, event organizers will be awarded half the money up front. The second portion will be allotted after clearance reports have been approved and accepted by the board. 


Carpenter said Mayor Robert Smith and the city's beautification committee are also on the agenda for Monday's meeting to discuss welcome signs for north Columbus. 


The CVB will meet Dec. 18 at 4 p.m.