MARSHALL – Community events such as festivals or sports tournaments are fun. They also have an important impact on Marshall’s economy and quality of life, said Cassi Weiss, director of Visit Marshall.
With this in mind, Visit Marshall is now offering grants to community groups to hold events in the city.
To date, the Visit Marshall Tourism Grant program has provided more than $ 10,000 in total in cash and in kind to local organizations and events.
“The aim of the scholarship is not only to build relationships with the organizations, but to help them make their tournaments or events even better.” Weiss said.
“This is the first year we’re trying to get the message across” about the program she said.
The Visit Marshall Tourism Grant was launched last year. The grant program was challenged in that it was launched shortly before major gatherings and community events across Minnesota were canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Weiss said, Visit Marshall used the time to make sure the program was set up the way they wanted it to be.
Grants of up to $ 1,000 per group are available for sports associations and tournaments, activity associations, special events, and local tourist attractions. Weiss said Visit Marshall also provided in-kind contributions to help market the events.
In return, the scholarship holders are asked to name Visit Marshall as the event sponsor, to allow a Visit Marshall banner to be displayed at the event and to link to the Visit Marshall website.
To date, the scholarship program has awarded $ 8,000 in cash and $ 3,000 in kind, Weiss said. Events that have received grants ranged from Marshall Area Youth Baseball Association tournaments and Marshall Softball’s Southwest Slugfest, to the Shades of the Past auto club’s downtown roll-in, and a precision shooting competition at the Redwood River Sportsmen’s Club.
Events like those that have received grants have important economic implications for Marshall, Weiss said. They encourage people to come to Marshall and spend time there. It boosts business for local restaurants, shops, and hotels, especially when visitors are staying overnight.
“Our sports tournaments are a great attraction” Weiss said.
Weiss said applications for Visit Marshall Tourism Scholarships are still in progress. They had five new applications to consider at the last monthly meeting of the Marshall Convention and Visitors Bureau Board, she said.
Visit Marshall wanted to make sure the tourism grant was easy to apply for, Weiss said. On the homepage of the Visit Marshall website, https://visitmarshallmn.com, there is a tab with information on eligibility and a short application form.
“We wanted it not to overwhelm people” So the application is only about six questions long, said Weiss.
Weiss said Visit Marshall plans to continue the scholarship program in the future. While this year grant funding is on a first-come, first-served basis, she said the goal for next year will be to have application deadlines well in advance of events outside of the Marshall Area can be advertised.
An exhibition for youth sports and activities is also planned for next spring in order to continue to support the community in the future, said Weiss.