SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The City of Spartanburg is hoping to promote tourism by helping to fund the events that bring people to town.
That means some non-profit organizations could be getting a pretty penny.
The city has been doing Accommodations Tax Grants for over 20 years, and they get the funds by taxing hotel room visits. The money is then passed on to some nonprofits, or events, in the form of grants.
Not every organization is eligible.
“The organization or event has to draw in visitors from at least 50 miles away. Show that it puts more, what they call, heads in beds, which is what the accommodation tax is meant to do,” said Chris George, with the City of Spartanburg.
George said there is roughly $180,000 in grants up for grabs.
“They can use it, logistically, however they wish in the applications. If it’s an event, specifically, it can be used for any purposes for the event,” he said. “If it’s an organization, it has to be used for things that they do that would draw in visitors.”
One of the applicants is the Hub City Hog Fest.
Brad Blackwell, with Hub City Hog Fest, said they’re estimating their most recent event brought 40,000-50,000 people to Spartanburg.
“One of the ways Hog Fest uses the money to increase tourism is through the musical acts that we bring in,” said Blackwell.
Blackwell said Hog Fest brought people from all over the east coast to compete and eat.
“Just the South Carolina teams, we had 15 different municipalities represented from outside of Spartanburg County that came to compete,” he said.
This year, they’re asking for $15,000 of the accommodation tax grant funds for their 2024 event.
“The hope is we had such a triumphant return of Hub City Hog Fest, that next year we want to go after some big name musical acts,” said the festival treasurer.
He said events like Hog Fest couldn’t happen, or be such a success, without the help from the city.
“They’re huge, we’re a complete volunteer driven organization. All of our revenue comes from sponsorships sold leading up to the festival and the hope that the festival is profitable. So, any little bit of money helps,” said Blackwell.
Some other groups applying are the Freewheelers, Chapman Cultural Center, One Spartanburg and the city for events they host.
Riders with the Freewheelers said they are asking for $5,000 for their cycling event, the Assault on Mount Mitchell. The funding helps with advertising for their 46th anniversary of the event.
George said a committee looks and reviews all applications, with majority receiving some amount of funding.
“It really is depending on the need assessment coming from the committee, because we do have a limited amount of funds. So, not everybody gets everything they requested,” he said.
The deadline to apply is April 28, with funding going out starting after July 1.
To apply, click here.