Wednesday’s Mono County Tourism and Film Commission meeting was all about money as the Commission reviewed applications for the Community Event Marketing Fund.
Money from the fund is awarded to events and activities throughout the County that help drive visitation to the area and put heads in beds.
This year, in addition to the $20,000 currently available in the fund, the Mono County Board of Supervisors added another $20,000 to the pot. The Commission, however, decided to award the first $20,000 this week and then hold another application process at the beginning of 2014 for the second $20,000.
Eight applications were before the Commission: Size Doesn’t Matter Fishing Derby, Hike the Valley, Bridgeport Founders Day, Bridgeport Trout Tournament, June Lake Loop Mountain Music Festival, June Lake Winter Festival, June Lake Snowmobile Rally, and the Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre. A ninth application for Wild Iris’s program, Gimme Shelter, had been withdrawn by the applicant.
In total, there were more than $30,000 in funding requests so the Commission had to determine how to pare things down.
The application the Commission had the toughest time with was Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre’s. It had requested $4,000 for banners to advertise upcoming plays. The Commission wanted to know how the theatre was bringing in new overnight visitation to the community of Mammoth.
According to the application as well as Economic Development Manager Alicia Vennos who spoke about the application at the meeting, the drive really comes from getting second homeowners to stay another night to watch a play they are interested in. The same goes for visitors who may stay another night for a play, but the problem the Commission had was that it didn’t specifically draw visitors to the area for the event. It was more of an afterthought once they were here.
“The only one I struggle with is the theatre,” said Commission Chair Jimmy Little. “It doesn’t fit the program.”
So the Commission took that one off the table, making its task of whittling down the numbers a little easier.
The group also decided to hold off on funding the June Lake Loop Mountain Music Festival as well as the Bridgeport Founders Day Celebration until the next cycle of funding.
“We don’t have to spend the whole $20,000 now and these events are not held until later in the year [July and September, respectively],” Little said. “We should hold off on these two and then fully fund them in the next cycle.”
So the Commission decided to fully fund the June Lake Winter Festival and the June Lake Snowmobile Rally at $4,000 each. These events take place Jan. 24-25, 2014 and Feb. 28-March 1, 2014, respectively.
The group also fully funded Bridgeport Trout Tournament, held June 21, at $3,288, and the Size Doesn’t Matter Antelope Valley Fishing Derby, held Aug. 8-10 at $4,000.
Even though the Hike the Valley event, a new event for Antelope Valley, doesn’t take place until the end of September, the Commission went ahead and fully funded it at $4,000. The Commission’s thinking was, as a new event Hike the Valley would need more support to get off the ground and would thus need to start marketing sooner than other, more established events.
This set up left the Commission with $712, which will roll over into the next award cycle. Applications should be available in January and the awards will most likely be determined in February.
Contact the Mono County Tourism Department for more information.