LEAF Downtown was one of nearly two dozen local festivals and events to receive support from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority. /photo by Rose Kaz of Rose Photo

The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority awarded a total of $86,500 in sponsorship and grant money on Wednesday to support a variety of local festivals and events, from the long-running Shindig on the Green and Asheville Holiday Parade to the Leicester Artists Studio Tour and the Montford Holiday Tour of Homes.

Some 20 festivals and cultural events received approval for a total of $86,500 in funding from the Buncombe TDA at its Wednesday (Oct. 30) meeting. All the recipients go through an application process, and all are nonprofit organizations (either 501(c) 3 or 501(c) 6)

Money for the two TDA programs comes from unrestricted, earned income in the form of paid advertising on the ExploreAsheville.com website. Tourism officials created this source of funding to spotlight the importance of community events in preserving local heritage and culture, as well as the importance of creating gatherings and shared experiences for the people who live here.

The major events sponsorship program supports new and existing events that are now, or potentially the next, leading festival or event. The festivals and cultural events grant program, with a funding cap of $1,000, is designed to support and preserve cultural identity within Buncombe County, stimulate the creation of new (or expansion of existing) events, and help festivals and cultural events become sustainable and financially viable, according to the TDA.

Recipients of 2020 major events sponsorships are:

$10,000: Winter Lights at The N.C. Arboretum (The N.C. Arboretum Society)
$9,000: Sourwood Festival (Black Mountain-Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce)
$8,000: Shindig on the Green / Mountain Dance & Folk Festival (Folk Heritage Committee)
$7,000: Hola Asheville Celebration (Hola Community Arts)
$5,000 each: Asheville Holiday Parade, Asheville Independence Day Celebration, Downtown After 5 (Asheville Downtown Association)
$5,000: ASAP Farm Tour (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)
$5,000: Asheville Fringe Arts Festival (Asheville Fringe Society)
$5,000: LEAF Downtown (LEAF Community Arts)
$5,000: Southern Highland Craft Fair (Southern Highland Craft Guild)
$5,000: Taste of Asheville (Asheville Independent Restaurant Association)
$3,000: CiderFest NC (Green Built Alliance)
$3,000: {Re}HAPPENING & ReVIEWING Black Mountain College (Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center)
$1,000: Asheville Celtic Festival (Asheville Celtic Group)
$1,000: Asheville Mini Maker Faire (Asheville Makers, Inc.)
$1,000: WNC Garlic Fest (The Utopian Seed Project; Roots Foundation, fiscal agent)

Recipients of 2020 festivals and cultural events grants are:

$1,000: Asheville Mardi Gras Parade & Queen’s Ball (Asheville Mardi Gras, Inc.)
$1,000: Come to Leicester Artists Studio Tour (Leicester Artists; Leicester Community Center, fiscal agent)
$1,000: Montford Holiday Tour of Homes (Montford Neighborhood Association)
$500: Celebrate Zelda – Honoring the Life and Legacy of Zelda Fitzgerald (Aurora Studio & Gallery, Inc.)

Festivals, cultural events, and major events receiving funding via the rigorous application-based, committee-driven process are expected to attract both residents and visitors. They also receive marketing assistance from Explore Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote attendance. All recipients are 501(c) 3 or 501(c) 6 nonprofit organizations.

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One Comment

  1. luther blissett says:

    $86,500 is, I’d guesstimate, about what the TDA spends for three days of advertising.

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