Growing number of visitors helps fund local events

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Bill Rairigh makes kettle corn to sell at Brick Street Market. The event is among many that receives a grant from the Boone County CVB. (Photo by Ann Marie Shambaugh)

Bill Rairigh makes kettle corn to sell at Brick Street Market. The event is among many that receives a grant from the Boone County CVB. (Photo by Ann Marie Shambaugh)

By Heather Lusk

The Boone County Convention and Visitors Bureau recently awarded 23 tourism grants for local events for a total of $43,520, according to Jeri Day, executive director, who added that this is the most grant money the organization has given out during her tenure.

The addition of a Hampton Inn in Whitestown has contributed to the growing budget for the CVB, which comes from the innkeepers tax.

“More hotels means more budget and more money we can give out,” Day said. “The money that comes in, we give out.”

Even though Boone County lacks a convention center, the 4H fairgrounds host many events receiving grants.

“We have one of the nicest 4H fairgrounds in the state,” Day said. “It’s most definitely why a lot of events are coming here.”

Day was proud that events have “never stopped coming” to Boone County. An event may no longer take place, or it may go elsewhere for a few years but they almost always return, she said.

Annual Boone County events in Zionsville receiving CVB grants are the Brick Street Market, SullivanMunce Ghost Walk, Gardens of Zionsville Tour, Zionsville’s Fall Festival, Christmas in the Village and CruZionsville.

Grants are allocated in April after the Boone County CVB board meets to review scheduled grants and any new requests. While many events take place in Lebanon and Zionsville, the events are spread throughout the county.

“We want every single town to have their own event and the majority of them do,” Day said.

The CVB assists many of the county’s events with additional marketing through the use of billboard advertising and a tourism guide.

“I want people to know that we’re here,” she said, “and that we’re giving back to the community.”

 

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