Grants awarded to promote tourism

First Posted: 5/15/2009

DOBSON During the National Travel and Tourism week, which is a collective effort to promote the power of travel through customized events in communities nationwide, four Surry County vineyards and an area organization received the monies to help them do just that.
The Surry County Tourism Development Authority awarded 2009 Tourism Incentive Grants totaling $18,044 to Carolina Heritage Vineyard ($5,000), Klondike Cabins ($5,000), Round Peak Vineyards ($4,000), Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery ($3,500) and the Rockford Preservation Society ($544).
The program is a 50/50 matching grant initiative designed to assist the applicant with paid advertising, regional tourism memberships, new equipment or materials, business infrastructure, brochures, and festival or special event planning.
In a statement released earlier this week, Dr. Jim Harrell Jr., a county commissioner, said the program shows Surry Countys commitment to fostering and supporting local businesses and entities who seek to increase the tourist trade in the county.
The tourism sector of our economy has continued to grow over the past five years at a significant rate and we desire to see that this growth continues. We feel that one of the very best ways to invest your tourism marketing dollars to make grants such as these available to enhance and support tourism-related infrastructure, he said.
Patricia Colwell, and her husband, Clyde, own Carolina Heritage Vineyard and Winery in Elkin, which produces organic wine. Colwell said she and her husband plan to use the grant money to promote the vineyards as the first organic vineyard in the state.
The thrust for our use of the grant is on the marketing side, she said. Theres a strong interest in organic wine and organic farming, and were hoping to leverage that interest into the Yadkin Valley Wine by declaring we have the first (organic vineyard) in the state. That will be a way to create interest in the area.
Hannah Holyfield, the president of the Rockford Preservation Society, said that the organizations matching grant of $544 will help it purchase rack cards to distribute throughout the county promoting the historic village of Rockford. She said the organization plans to create and purchase 20,000 cards to place in area visitor centers, wineries and chambers of commerce. The rack cards will include information about Rockfords attractions and historical properties.
Were excited about getting a 50-percent match, were very thrilled, she said. Were going to get them out to as many places as we can.
The RPS has depended on small grants, donations and volunteer labor to improve its properties. Its restored sites include the 1900 Post Office, the 1850 Dudley Glass store and the 1914 Rockford Methodist Church.
Ken Gulian, and his wife, Kerri Heerdt, have owned Round Peak Vineyards in Mount Airy since December. Gulian said he and his wife plan to improve the ambiance at Round Peak.
We dont want people to just taste wine and leave, but to walk and enjoy the vineyards for the out-of-town folks and residents, he said. It will help us to do things to make this place more attractive, whether its in the tasting room where we need better capacity to serve people or out back where we also serve.
He said the grant money will help them to achieve short-term goals at Round Peak that will in turn help them to get to the longer term goals sooner.
Well be open daily June 1 and open until sunset on Sundays. We want people to bring picnic baskets and to have a bottle of wine. Our longer term goal is to have gazebos and rental cabins. The grant will not help directly toward that, but it will help Round Peak become a place to visit.
Calls to Klondike Cabins and Grassy Creek Vineyard were not returned.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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