Olympia looking at funding 24 applicants for 2024 tourism and events


Olympia staff liaison Amelia Layton presented the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) recommendation of funding various events for 2024 for a total of $835,911.

During the preliminary budget briefing at Monday's October 30 city council meeting, Layton informed the councilmembers that the projected revenue 2024 is $520,000. She noted that the LTAC has seen the highest funding requests this year. The committee recommended allocating $835,911 for funding various events.

To fully fund this recommendation, $313,911 would be drawn from the program's reserve balance of $758,145.

During the committee’s September 28 meeting, LTAC agreed to recommend allocating funds to the following organizations and events:

  • American Lung Association's Reach the Beach WA event - $10,000
  • Arbutus Folk School's Oly Old Time Music Festival – $18,000
  • Capital City Pride's Olympia's Annual Pride Festival – $10,000
  • Capital Lakefair Inc.'s Capital Lakefair – $0
  • City of Olympia Administration of LTAC program – $50,000
  • Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation's Oly on Ice – $20,000
  • Grays Harbor Historical Seaport's Lady Washington Port Visits – $5,000
  • Hands On Children's Museum Visitation – $81,149
  • Harlequin Productions – $15,000
  • Lake Run Organization - $3,000
  • Miss Washington Scholarship Organization – $50,000
  • Oly Town Artesian Arena Soccer – $35,000
  • Love Oly Winterfest – $10,000
  • Love Oly Visitor Guide – $10,000
  • Love Oly Summer Fest – $60,000
  • Olympia Arts Walk – $26,000
  • Olympia Symphony Orchestra for 2024 season – $25,000
  • Olympic Flight Museum's Air Show = $20,000
  • PARC Foundation's 1st Annual Olympia Funk Festival – $35,000
  • South Sound Maritime Heritage Association – $100,000
  • Supporters of Olympia Community Sailing – $9,666
  • Team- Tomorrow's South Sound Block Party – $65,000
  • Visitor and Convention Bureau of Thurston County – tourism marketing, sales and development – $158,096
  • Washington State Senior Games - $20,000

Layton highlighted changes made to prioritize equity, including asking applicants about their mission, vision, and accessibility. New scoring is also considered in organizations' equity plans. They also updated the review rubric to eliminate personal bias within the application.

The committee decided not to fund the $25,000 request for the Capital Lakefair event. The JOLT will be doing a follow-up story.

Layton explained that each application was scored out of 50 points with 10 bonus points. It included 10 points allocated to the following categories:

  • Scope of work and project description
  • Marketing plan
  • Ability to generate overnight stays (the primary goal of lodging tax funds)
  • Economic impact on the community

She added that the LTAC earmarked some money for new and emergent organizations this year.

The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee during its September 28, 2023 meeting.
The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee during its September 28, 2023 meeting.

Sweeny Todd is one of the projects being funded, details of that were introduced at the Olympia’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) September 28 meeting.

Harlequin Productions will collaborate with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra for the project.

Committee member Don Olea agreed to back the $15,000 request for marketing the performance, as he believed that bringing Sweeney Todd production is something new and innovative. "That kind of name could bring people in. It is something big to many people within many cultural areas."

In its application, Harlequin stated that it plans to bring the Sweeney Todd to audiences from October 11-13, 2024.

Olea said the committee could revisit next year if that innovation brought something good for Olympia.

Selby reminded the committee that the city's Economic Development allocated $150,000 funds to Harlequin Productions to support struggling local theater organizations. The city council also approved awarding $50,000 to Olympia Family Theater, and $100,000 to Olympia Film Society – Capitol Theater in May.

She added that Harlequin can also apply for a grant from the Inspire Olympia in January.


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