Businesses and organizations in Somerset County are encouraged to “think big” in promoting the county as a tourist destination, Somerset County Commissioner Colleen Dawson said Wednesday during the 2023 Somerset County Tourism Grant Program luncheon at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.
Dawson is one of the five members of the grant program’s review committee who awarded $517,757 in grant funds, generated through revenues from the county’s lodging tax, to 40 local businesses and organizations for marketing and other tourism-related activities in 2023.
“We need you to continue to market Somerset County and all we have to offer,” she said. “We want you to think big — we have the money and the partnerships available.
“We want you to be a success, because that makes Somerset County successful.”
The 2023 grant total was 11.9% more than the previous year ($462,740), according to information provided by GO Laurel Highlands, the tourism marketing organization that administers the tourism grant programs for Somerset, Fayette and Westmoreland counties. Forty-one requests were funded out of a total of 48 applications received.
Who are this year's recipients?
Forbes Trail Brewing, in Stoystown, received its first marketing grant through the tourism grant program this year, owner/operator John Maurizio said.
The microbrewery was awarded $7,252 to promote its craft beer menu and scheduled events through advertisements in GO Laurel Highlands’ 2024 Destination Guide and its brochure distribution program.
Forbes Trail Brewing's start:Microbrewery set to open this spring near Flight 93 and Patriot Park memorials in Somerset
“We’re a very good support to local tourism,” Maurizio said. “People will come and stay an extra day (in the area) to visit breweries, distilleries and wineries.”
A week-long celebration is planned in July for Forbes Trail Brewing’s one-year business anniversary, Maurizio said. He also wants to expand on partnerships with other local businesses next year, such as offering customer and employee appreciation programs and producing specialty beers for weddings, retirement parties, family reunions and other events.
“We’re looking forward to partnering with other local businesses and do business-to-business promotions with our specialty beers,” he said.
Jennerstown Speedway received the largest grant allocation, an $89,020 marketing grant to support an advertising campaign promoting the speedway’s 2023 schedule of events.
More grant recipients
Other tourism grant recipients and the amounts they received were as follows:
Angels of East Africa, a non-profit organization based in Central City, received a $4,644 marketing grant for promotion and brochure development;
Brantview Farms Maple, of Berlin, received a $12,395 marketing grant for brochures, digital advertising and video production;
Camp Soles, a camping organization based in Rockwood, received a $3,900 marketing grant to promote the camp through brochures, digital and social media advertisements and other opportunities;
Comfort Inn, of Somerset, received a $20,116 marketing grant to promote its lodging packages with local golf courses, targeting golfers in Ohio and eastern Pennsylvania through print, radio and online advertising;
Confluence Borough received a $950 marketing grant to promote its 150th anniversary celebration in 2023 through an updated website, print advertising and promotional brochures;
Confluence PumpkinFest received a $2,455 marketing grant to promote the annual event through brochures, radio and other advertising opportunities;
Confluence Tourism Association received two grants: a $1,732 marketing grant and an $8,859 visitor center grant. The marketing grant is to be used to promote recreation and special events in Confluence through cycling publications. The visitor center grant will fund the association’s Town Criers program, which serves as a mobile visitor center;
Duppstadt’s Country Store, in Stoystown, received a $2,532 marketing grant to promote the store through regional advertising and brochure distribution avenues;
Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, in Shanksville, received a $17,446 marketing grant for print, tourism partnerships and billboard advertising opportunities;
4 Fall Festivals Marketing (Hurst Media) received a $6,000 marketing grant to promote the Farmers and Threshermens Jubilee, Mountain Craft Days, Flax Scutching Festival and Ligonier Highland Games through billboard, television and digital ad campaigns and website hosting;
Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy received a $21,781 marketing grant for website improvements, brochure creation and other opportunities to promote the Great Allegheny Passage biking and hiking trail;
Highlands Ventures received a $52,500 marketing grant to develop targeted social media advertisements and television and radio advertisements promoting its hospitality, golf, sporting clays and dining options to prospective customers in the Pittsburgh region;
Historical and Genealogical Society of Somerset County received a $7,518 marketing grant to promote the society through brochure creation and distribution and radio, print and television advertisements;
Ivory Buck Boutique, in Salisbury, received a $1,000 marketing grant to promote the store’s inventory of clothing, home décor and accessories through Facebook advertising;
Jager and Friends Dog Park, in Somerset, received a $1,600 marketing grant for billboard advertising on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, promoting the off-leash dog park as a stopping point for families traveling through Somerset County with their dogs;
Levi Deal Mansion Bed and Breakfast, in Meyersdale, received a $5,082 marketing grant to promote the luxury inn to visitors on the Great Allegheny Passage through print and digital advertisements, website improvements, brochures and email marketing;
Listie Volunteer Fire Company received a $7,687 marketing grant to promote its two-day Thunder Truck competitive truck pull event through digital and television advertisements and other avenues;
Maple Leaf Outfitters, of Meyersdale, received a $1,971 marketing grant to promote its outdoor trip planning services on the Great Allegheny Passage to customers through website improvements and print advertising;
Merchant Village, of Somerset, received a $5,000 marketing grant to promote its indoor vendor and crafter’s mall through brochure printing and distribution and Facebook advertising;
MGPS, of Central City, received a $2,305 marketing grant to promote the full-service Harley-Davidson motorcycle repair shop and merchandise shop through printed brochures;
Meyersdale Area Historical Society received a $26,974 visitor center grant to support staffing needs for the society’s visitor center, located in the renovated Western Maryland Train Station.
Mountain Ridge Trails Resort, in Central City, received a $60,072 marketing grant to promote its all-terrain vehicle trail system to ATV, UTV and dirt bike enthusiasts through billboards, brochure distribution, print and radio advertisements, out-of-market trade shows and digital marketing;
New Centerville & Rural Volunteer Fire Company received a $8,985 marketing grant to promote the annual Farmers and Threshermens Jubilee event through brochures and billboard, print and radio advertising;
Patriot Park Foundation, in Stoystown, received a $14,647 marketing grant to promote Patriot Park Memorial, a park that honors those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces since Sept. 11, 2001. The grant will be used to promote the site through digital and print advertisements, email marketing and brochures;
Pennsylvania Maple Festival, in Meyersdale, received a $16,943 marketing grant to promote the annual festival celebrating Somerset County’s maple sugar industry. The funds will be used to advertise the festival through brochures and print, radio, email and digital advertising in eastern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, Maryland and northern Virginia.
Quecreek Mine Rescue Site, in Somerset, received an $800 marketing grant to distribute brochures promoting the site where nine coal miners who were trapped underground were rescued in July 2002;
Remember Me Rose Garden, in Stoystown, received a $1,440 marketing grant to promote to visitors the 13-acre garden that honors those who were killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001;
September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance received a $500 marketing grant for Facebook advertising to promote the development of the September 11th National Memorial Trail, a 1,300-mile multi-use trail that links New York City with Somerset County and Washington, D.C.;
Somerset County Chamber of Commerce received a $25,000 marketing grant to promote the county’s business opportunities through print and digital advertisements, seasonal billboards and brochure creation and distribution;
Somerset County Recreation and Trails Association, in Somerset, received an $8,930 visitor center grant to cover employee wages. The association maintains 43 miles of the Great Allegheny Passage that are located within Somerset County;
Somerset Inc. received a $8,864 marketing grant to promote visitors to uptown Somerset and publicize events through brochure distribution, print, radio and digital advertisements and professional photography and videography;
Sugar Grove Antiques, in Somerset, received a $2,525 marketing grant to promote its multi-dealer antique mall through brochure creation and distribution, print and digital advertising, maps and signage;
Sunshine Luggage Shuttle, in Confluence, received a $4,480 marketing grant to promote its luggage shuttling service through brochure creation and distribution and print and digital advertising;
Tall Pines Distillery, in Salisbury, received an $11,400 marketing grant to promote the distillery through billboards, brochures and radio advertising;
The Lodge at Indian Lake, in Central City, received a $27,921 marketing grant to promote the lodge as a wedding and event venue through social media, email and digital advertising;
Trailhead Brewing Company, in Rockwood, received a $3,810 marketing grant to promote the brewery and scheduled events through website improvements, social media advertising and video production;
Yoder’s Guest House, in Meyersdale, received an $8,668 marketing grant to promote its lodging accommodations through print and digital advertisements and website improvements; and
Yough Mountain House, in Confluence, received a $2,250 marketing grant to market its two rental properties, Yough Mountain House and Yough Nest Bungalow, through tourism partnerships with GO Laurel Highlands.
This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Somerset County's 2023 Tourism Grant Program awards $517,757