Each year, the Hernando County Tourist Development Council (TDC) and Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau support the marketing and promotion of numerous exciting programs and events in this area through its Special Event Marketing Grant Funding program. This year, however, several interested applicants missed the application deadline for these crucial grants, the funding budget for which has been doubled in 2023. Well, those interested in applying for a special event grant have a second chance to get the money they need to spread the word about their Hernando happenings.
The application period for special event marketing grants has been reopened due to Idalia’s interruption in business operations. “We were approached by people who said they wanted to apply for grants,” said Tammy Heon, manager of Tourism Development. “But because of storm prep and cleanup, they didn’t make the deadline.”
The primary purpose of the Hernando County Local Special Event Marketing Grant Funding Program, says Heon, “is to provide funding to local organizations for the marketing of special events that promote Hernando County as a tourist destination. Funds received must be used for expenditures associated with marketing and promoting the event to visitors and guests outside of Hernando County. The program is administered through the Hernando County Tourist Development Council (HCTDC) and Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau.”
Applicants are required to submit a complete application, one that comes accompanied by a detailed marketing plan. “It’s easier than ever to apply for a Tourism Marketing Grant,” noted Heon. “We’ve really simplified the application process with an online application and the elimination of oral presentations. A great idea with a solid marketing plan is all it takes.”
Yet, according to Heon, the specter of Idalia put a damper on the original grant application process. “This year, we wanted more people than ever to apply,” she said. “But fewer applications came in than we expected. We knew that we needed to give people another chance.”
Several popular Hernando events have found solid marketing support through the Tourism Marketing Grant, including the Hernando County Fine Art Council’s Art in the Park, the Hilly Hundred bicycle race, the Arc Nature Coast Spring Lake Memorial Classic road race, and the Harvest Moon Festival.
“We encourage people to apply for these grants so we can support more special events,” said Heon. Whether they take the form of single-day happenings or weekend-long festivities, outdoor music festivals or art walks, cycling trail runs or Mermaid Trails, all of these grant-supported events share one crucial link.
“They keep people coming back for more,” said Heon. “We meet people who first discovered Hernando because they attended a grant-supported event.”
“People come back for more!” All application forms for the Special Event Marketing Grant Funding must be completed and submitted to the Visitors Bureau before the HCTDC Meeting, where presentations will be heard. Applications for grants for the FY 2023-2024 year must be received by Friday, November 10, 2023. The TDC will review applications at the November TDC Meeting and funding recommendations will be forwarded to the BOCC for review and approval on January 9, 2024.
The link to the grant funding application is below:
“We’re hoping to encourage the development of new events in the community, as well as help existing events to grow and expand,” noted Roger King, chairman of the TDC and owner of The Dolan House B&B in Brooksville.
Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville – Weeki Wachee offers authentic experiences of the Sunshine State at its natural best. Visit FloridasAdventureCoast.com for more information.