Nevada communities receive largest-ever grant funding to promote tourism

Expect enthusiasm to grow for the 2003 World Championship Outhouse Races, thanks to a grant from the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

The $1,800 grant awarded to the Virginia City & Gold Hill Chamber of Commerce to advertise the October event is one of more than $1 million in grants announced in the first round of funding. It's the largest amount awarded in one grant cycle for the commission.

The Carson City and Reno region was awarded $214,787 in grants for 44 projects.

"Marketing and promotion are essential to Nevadans' tourism-based economy because they draw the visitors," said Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, chairwoman of the tourism commission. "Nevada's rural communities offer amazing adventures and unique experiences, and these grants help make it possible to promote them."

Grants pay for print, broadcast and billboard advertising and marketing, sending representatives to tourism- and travel-industry trade shows, designing, printing and distributing promotional materials for print, broadcast, video, and Web sites, and conducting familiarization tours throughout Nevada for travel media, meeting planners and tour operators.

Applications for the next round of grants, worth $500,000, must be submitted to the tourism commission by Oct. 11.

The Virginia City & Gold Hill Chamber of Commerce is one of the beneficiaries.

"It really is very, very important to us," said Sandy Olinger, president of the chamber, which received five grants totaling $10,300 to promote such events as the International Camel Races, Mountain Oyster Fry, the Gold Hill All the Arts Art Fair, and to print brochures. "It helps advertise events to get people up here. Without advertising we can't get the turnout we need and advertising is expensive."

Grant applicants don't always get what they want. Most were awarded below last year's grants for the same programs. Some applications were turned down. The chamber will resubmit applications that were denied in the first round.

Also in the grant-winners circle are four programs from the Carson City Convention & Visitors Authority, including three related to the "Divine Nine" golf promotions.

"All the grants, we've applied to before," Candace Duncan, the authority's executive director, said of $20,500 in grants.

The Divine Nine golf programs promote the nine golf courses in Carson City, Carson Valley and Dayton. The grants will go toward brochure printing, an annual familiarization tour for golf writers, and attendance to golf and travel shows.

"When we apply for grants, the projects benefit, not just Carson City, but our partners," Duncan said.

For information on submitting a grant call Larry Friedman, rural programs manager at (775) 687-4322 or write to him at the Nevada Commission on Tourism, 401 N. Carson St., Carson City, NV 89701 or e-mail:

Other grants for the Carson City region include:

-- Six grants totaling $34,676 for the Virginia City Convention & Tourism Authority.

-- $22,000 to Virginia City programs sponsored by the Historic Fourth Ward School, Piper's Opera House Programs Inc., and the Virginia City Rodeo.

-- $5,000 for the Nevada Shakespeare Festival in Carson Valley.

-- $3,000 for Dayton Unit of the Lyon County Sheriff's Search & Rescue to promote the 14th Annual Dayton Valley Days Sept. 20-22, 2002.

-- $60,000 in grants for Reno-Tahoe Territory programs.

-- $9,311 for the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Authority.


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