Visit Bentonville empties coffers for 2018 events support

Posted: January 26, 2018 at 1:03 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- Visit Bentonville doled out the last money in its funding request budget for this year at the Advertising and Promotions Commission meeting Thursday.

Commissioners decided last year to increase the annual allotment to support events from $100,000 to $130,000. The events need to show promise of bringing tourism dollars into the city.

Shifting money

Bentonville Advertising and Promotion Commission also approved Thursday to use $10,000 out of Visit Bentonville’s culinary project budget to support Bite NWA, a multiday food festival.

Commissioners also agreed to move $40,000 that was unspent in the 2017 public arts budget to this year’s public arts budget.

Source: Staff report

Of the $130,000 for 2018, $112,400 was already allocated between 17 events before Thursday's meeting. Event organizers asked for money last year for those events, which will be held this year.

That left $17,600 to distribute among six events Thursday. Commissioners approved to move $6,000 from the special projects budget to increase the amount to $23,600.

Four events were awarded an amount less than the requested.

"I have to make it work from a dollar and cents standpoint," Kalene Griffith, Visit Bentonville president and CEO, told commissioners.

The Natural State Crit received the full $10,000 it requested. Crit, short for criterium, is a fast bike race consisting of several laps around a closed circuit.

This will be the third year the event will take place in Bentonville, but this year it will be a part of the USA Crits Championship Series. That means nationally ranked riders will participate, and the event will also be streamed online, said Luke Charpentier, Visit Bentonville sports sales manager.

The event will take place July 6 and be followed by crits in Rogers and Springdale later that weekend, officials said.

A KBF, or Kayak Bass Fishing, open series event was the other event to receive the full funding organizers requested, $5,000.

The fishing will take place on Grand Lake and Beaver Lake, but Bentonville will be the host city, said Diane Jenkins, event representative.

The event will take place June 15 and 16. There's already 180 registered participants, but organizers expect that number to increase to around 400.

Jenkins said there's also work to have the national champion held on Grand, Beaver and Table Rock lakes in 2019 with Bentonville being the host city where meetings and the awards ceremony takes place.

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Often times participants will come one to two weeks before the event to get to know the water they'll be competing in, Jenkins said.

The championship is being held in Kentucky this year with a first place prize of $100,000.

Commissioner Josh Morey said he's contacted tourism officials near Kentucky Lake. They've said the draw and activity from the KBF competitors has been great, he said.

"They're very well off people that have a passion," Morey said. "That (open series event) could turn into something amazing down the road."

Commissioners also gave the Museum of Native American History $2,600 of the requested $4,500 for its Native American Symposium to be held in June, $1,000 of the requested $2,000 Ladies AllRide mountain biking conference in May, $2,000 of the requested $2,500 for the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Championships in May and $3,000 of the requested $10,000 for the Nowhere Developers Conference in March.

NW News on 01/26/2018