Folk Festival Awarded $75K Advertising Grant

SALISBURY – Officials in Wicomico County this month approved a $75,000 matching grant from the Maryland Department of Commerce to promote the 2018 National Folk Festival.

On March 6, the Wicomico County Council voted unanimously to approve a request from the Wicomico County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism to accept a $75,000 Private Sector Consumer Advertising Partnership Program grant from the Maryland Department of Commerce to promote the 2018 National Folk Festival, which will take place in downtown Salisbury Sept. 7-9.

Kristen Goller, tourism manager for Wicomico County, said the county has partnered with other local agencies to apply for the grant.

“We’ve applied for and have been awarded a grant through the Maryland Office of Tourism to help promote the National Folk Festival,” she said. “We’ve partnered with Worcester County and Ocean City to put together the application, as well as the Ward Foundation. In partnership we’d be contributing a total of $75,000 and the state would match that, so it would give us a total budget of $150,000 to promote the festival out of market.”

Because the grant requires at least a 50 percent cash match from a private sector partner, the Ward Foundation will provide $37,500 of the $75,000 contribution. Wicomico County will contribute 25 percent, or $18,750, while Worcester County and Ocean City will each contribute $9,375.

Council President John Cannon asked if the agencies had guidelines for how the money is spent.

“Do we have guidelines as to what we are going to do with this money?” he said.

Goller told the council the local partners are working on a tentative schedule for using the funds to advertise the National Folk Festival.

“We’ll be doing some print and billboard advertising and (will focus) heavily on social and web-based advertising,” she said. “We’re targeting Baltimore, D.C., Philadelphia and Harrisburg markets. We are also targeting Ocean City beach traffic, so we have some billboards along Route 50 and sort of some nontraditional advertising in Ocean City to capture that audience as well.”

Goller requested the council approve the $75,000 grant prior to fiscal year 2019 to allow for the placement of ads and to approve billing the non-state partners for their share of the grant contribution. The council voted 7-0 to approve the request.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.