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Monday March 7, 2016

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Rooster Walk Inc. received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program grant fund on Monday. In total VTC awarded more than $812,000 for 39 tourism marketing projects across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.

The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 153 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with more than $2.6 million, providing more than

$3.4 million in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

Rooster Walk Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit, received a $10,000 grant for its eighth annual Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival, which will take place May 26-29th at Pop’s Farm in Axton. Rooster Walk Inc. partnered with fellow nonprofits Arts at the Rives Theatre, Piedmont Arts Association, and the Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Tourism Division to supply $20,000 in matching funds for the project. The festival will bring more than 4,000 visitors, 45 bands, and 35 arts and craft vendors to M-HC over Memorial Day weekend. The festival will feature five stages, children’s educational programming and the Tuff Strutter 5k, a trail race put on through a partnership with the Martinsville-Henry County Family YMCA. In addition, a portion of festival proceeds will be donated to the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship Fund at Martinsville High School and Rooster Walk Inc.’s Band Instrument Donation & Repair Program for entry-level band at public schools in the city and county.

“Rooster Walk has grown to become one of the premiere cultural events in our community, and the EDC is delighted to assist them in securing state marketing funds,” said Jennifer Doss, director of tourism with the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

“Visitors travel from all over the Mid-Atlantic to participate in the multi-day festival each year and we know that with increased marketing this following of loyal fans will continue to grow, boosting area tourism.”

Visitors to Martinsville-Henry County generate $66.1 million dollars in revenue, according to data from the United States Travel Association.

Tourism generates $1.37 million in local tax revenue for M-HC, and 735 people are directly employed by the tourism industry in M-HC, according to stats provided by the EDC.

Rooster Walk Inc.’s Jason Lagesse served as lead grant writer. He was assisted by Bassett resident Phil Wenkstern, who volunteered his time and expertise throughout the process.

The VTC Marketing Leverage Program is designed to stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships by leveraging limited marketing dollars, resulting in increased visitor spending.  A minimum of three entities must partner financially to apply and may consist of Virginia towns, cities, counties, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations, private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events, and other not-for-profit entities.

“The Marketing Leverage Grant program is designed to spur job creation, economic development, and visitor spending through new or enhanced tourism product,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These grants are proven to increase visitation by creating marketing partnerships and effective marketing programs.”

Research shows that every VTC dollar invested in grants resulted in

$16 of direct visitor spending. Marketing campaigns that received Marketing Leverage Grants increased visitation by 15 percent.

“These grants support businesses across the Commonwealth, contributing to the overall economic health of our communities,” said Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “These public-private partnership are a wonderful example of the power of collaboration, and help support and grow a robust and diversified economy, encouraging strategic marketing of tourism products and businesses across the Commonwealth.”

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2014, tourism generated $22.4 billion in revenue, supported nearly 217,000 jobs and provided $1.5 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.  Visit www.Virginia.org to learn more about vacation destinations in Virginia or call 1-800-VISITVA to receive a free, Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.

For more information about Rooster Walk Inc., its festival and the charities that it supports, visit www.RoosterWalk.com. To learn about concerts at the Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville, visit www.RivesTheatre.org. To learn about the exhibits and programming offered by the Piedmont Arts Association, visit www.PiedmontArts.org.

To learn more about the Martinsville-Henry County area, visit www.VisitMartinsville.com.

Tags: Art, Entertainment, Festivals, Henry County, Insider's Tips, Local Business, Martinsville, MHC Economic Development Corporation, MHC Visitor Center, Performing Arts, Piedmont Arts, Rooster Walk, ,