Sullivan County’s combined Fall Festival/Lumberjack and Chainsaw Carving Competition (top) draws thousands of visitors each year to the Sullivan County Fairgrounds. The event is sponsored by the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and supported in part by Room Tax Grants. The Susquehanna Community Development Association has used Room Tax Grants through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau to conduct their annual North Branch River Festival (above), which includes group kayaking activities and racing in varying age groups.
The Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau (EMVB) is now accepting applications for 2020 Room Tax Grants. Non-profit organizations based in Sullivan, Susquehanna, or Wyoming counties are eligible for money to help fund special events or exhibits, marketing and promotional projects, historical preservation projects, and wayfinding aides. Pre-applications must be postmarked by Friday, Sept. 25 for consideration.
“Room Tax Funds are a great way for our non-profit organizations to advance projects or to attract people from other areas to see how much the Endless Mountains have to offer,” said EMVB executive director Jean Ruhf. This marks the 14th year the EMVB has given money back to the community through the grant program as part of its efforts to promote the area to visitors, residents, and neighbors of the three-county region.
In recent years, funding has helped the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce Fall Festival Lumberjack Chainsaw Carving Competition and their Taste Full Event. In Wyoming County, The Tunkhannock Business and Professional Association has applied Room Tax grants to Founders Day, Hometown Fall Fest, and Christmas in Our Hometown. The Greater Forest City Business Alliance successfully applied last year for funds to update a website, social media presence, and a visitors guide to the Susquehanna County borough.
The COVID-19 crisis has challenged the EMVB and its grant recipients alike this year. Funds secured last year for events that could not be held this year have been extended to 2021 in several cases. Some organizations that have spent a portion of their 2020 funding may be eligible for more money and are encouraged to apply again.
“We will work with any organization that has had to modify its plans due to the pandemic,” Ruhf stated. “We know how difficult this year has been for non-profit organizations, and we can work together to make the best of each situation.”
Room Tax money is generated through the state’s Hotel Occupancy Tax collected in each county to perpetuate ongoing tourism promotion. Thirty percent of the money collected is put into the Room Tax Grant fund, and the remainder is used to support the EMVB and its regional efforts to bring visitors to the area.
All grants must have a 25% cash or in-kind match. All pre-applications will be reviewed by the EMVB Room Tax Committee to ensure they meet grant requirements. Eligible applications then move on to the award process. Those granted money will be notified by mail no later than December 31, 2020.
The pre-application can be found on the EMVB website (www.EndlessMountains.org) under Media Information at the bottom of the home page. It may also be obtained by calling the Bureau at 570-836-5431, stopping by the office at 5405 SR 6, Tunkhannock, or emailing email@example.com.
Founders Day fills the streets of Tunkhannock each June. Featuring nearly 100 vendors and live music, the event is conducted by the Tunkhannock Business and Professional Association with support from the EMVB and Room Tax Funds.