Washington County tourist attractions receive $163,000 in grants

May 18, 2016
PONY League Headquarters located in North Franklin Township. - Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter Order a Print

The Pony League World Series and Whiskey Rebellion Festival were the big recipients of the 2016 tourism promotion grants announced Wednesday by Washington County commissioners on behalf of Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency.

A total of $163,080 in grants were presented for 13 separate attractions and events across the county.

According to a news release from WCTPA, it awarded a $60,000 grant to Dick’s Sporting Goods Pony League World Series and $30,000 to Bradford House Historical Association for its annual Whiskey Rebellion Festival.

During an event at The Spring House in Eighty Four, the commissioners also announced a $147,000 commitment to a summer advertising campaign to be added to a $278,000 WCTPA marketing budget to promote the various attractions.

In addition to the grants for Pony League World Series and Whiskey Rebellion Festival, this year’s recipients also included the following:

Meadowcroft Rockshelter & Historical Village, $20,000 for parking lot renovations; Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, $13,780 for its Family Fun Event series; Washington Symphony Orchestra, $7,900 for concert advertising; McDonald Volunteer Fire Department, $5,000 for Summerfest; Aquatorium Innovations Inc., $5,000 for Rockin’ on the Mon Summer Concert Series; Greater Canonsburg Chamber of Commerce, $4,900 for its Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest; Houston Volunteer Fire Company, $4,000 for Houston Pumpkin Festival; Mental Health Association of Washington County, $4,000 for Wine, Jazz & Pops Festival VI; National Duncan Glass Society, $4,000 for Duncan & Miller Convention, Glass Show & Sale; Mt. Pleasant Township Volunteer Fire Company, $3,000 for Hickory Apple Festival; and Monongahela Area Historical Society, $1,500 for event advertising.

“Washington County’s economy is not only being driven by energy, education and advanced manufacturing, but by a strong tourism industry,” said commission Chairman Larry Maggi. “In fact, tourism continues to be one of the largest industries in the county with over $750 million in direct visitor spending and supporting nearly 6,000 jobs according to the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development.”

Commissioner Harlan Shober said commissioners are dedicating $147,080 for a summer campaign advertising the tourist attractions. That amount will be added to WCTPA’s $278,000 marketing campaign anchored by a television commercial advertising schedule, regional radio ads, as well as web and social media promotions.

“Our typical visitor to Washington County is from a two- to three-hour radius, so the goal of the summer campaign is to increase awareness and attendance of our events in that market area,” Shober said.

WCTPA Chairman Mark Alterici noted the capital and marketing grants are investments in tourism’s future. “We believe it is the agency’s role to provide resources to increase their marketing and advertising as well as invest in capital improvements for our tourism assets. Through increased advertising, we want to boost the exposure of these events, which will attract new attendees and hopefully additional sponsors. Tourism is a business and we need to make smart business investments in our tourism assets,” he said.

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