BCTDA approves $100,000 of investments to 25 local festivals and cultural events

Press release from Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority 

The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) has approved a total of $100,000 of investment for local cultural events and festivals celebrating Asheville and Buncombe County communities. The financial support sanctioned during the Nov. 29 board meeting aims to foster community connections and enhance local experiences for both residents and visitors in 2024.

Twenty-five community festivals and cultural events received investment through the Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund this cycle from long established celebrations such as Asheville Celtic Festival and Blue Ridge Pride Festival to paramount cultural events such as Goombay, LEAF Festival, and ASAP Farm Tour. This is the first year the lodging tax paid by visitors will support local festivals and events, enabled by a change in state legislation, shifting how these funds can be spent. Prior to FY24, the budget for this program were earned through advertising sales and reservations booked on ExploreAsheville.com.

Launched in 2016, the support fund contributes to the financial viability and long-term sustainability of festivals and cultural events. The support fund seeks to stimulate new events and expand on existing ones that are enjoyed by residents and visitors.

A committee whose members include representatives from the City of Asheville and Buncombe County reviewed 39 support fund requests submitted by local nonprofits and government partners. Those meeting eligibility requirements and in alignment with Explore Asheville’s Strategic Imperatives were recommended for BCTDA approval. In addition to financial support, recipients also receive marketing assistance from Explore Asheville to promote attendance.

Grant Recipients and Events Approved for 2024 BCTDA Investments

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Program | ASAP Farm Tour | $5,000
Asheville Brewers Alliance |AVL Beer Week | $5,000
Asheville Celtic Group | Asheville Celtic Fest | $5,000
Asheville Creative Arts/ Lovely Asheville Enterprises, LLC | 3rd Lovely Asheville Annual Fall Festival | $5,000
Asheville Downtown Association | Asheville Holiday Parade | $2,500
Asheville Downtown Association | Downtown After 5 | $5,000
Asheville Downtown Association | Pritchard Park Summer Series | $2,500
Asheville Independent Restaurant Association (AIR) | Taste of Asheville | $5,000
Asheville Makers Inc. | Maker Faire Asheville | $1,500
Asheville Mardi Gras, Inc. | Asheville Mardi Gras Parade & Queen’s Ball | $5,000
Big Ivy Community Center | Big Ivy’s Independence Day Celebration | $2,500
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center | {Re}HAPPENING 11 | $3,500
Blue Ridge Pride | Blue Ridge Pride Festival | $5,000
Buncombe County Recreation Services | Festival of Lights at Lake Julian | $4,500
Center for Honeybee Research (CHBR) | Asheville HoneyFest | $5,000
Connect Beyond Festival | Connect Beyond Festival | $5,000
LEAF Global Arts | LEAF Downtown AVL | $5,000
Organic Growers School | Sow & Grow Fest | $1,500
Southern Highland Craft Guild | Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands | $2,500
Swannanoa Community Council | Groovin on Grovemont | $2,500
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville & Buncombe County | “Celebrating the History and Legacy of Juneteenth” | $5,000
YMI Cultural Center | Goombay | $5,000

Additional Funding Opportunities

In addition to the Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund, the BCTDA offers sponsorships for events and special projects that demonstrate an ability to enhance the local tourism industry of Buncombe County. Sponsorship requests are reviewed on a rolling basis. Find the BCTDA Sponsorship Application Form here.

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