GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau has been preparing and organizing a variety of events and activities to celebrate the impact of tourism on Gallia County.
Fifteen events planned over the new few weeks will start the season.
Last week, the bureau launched the 2017 City and County Passport Challenge to encourages individuals to visit various attractions and businesses throughout the city and county. Last year, only the city challenge was available but due to a high demand of interest from outside the city, the bureau has added a “county passport challenge.”
To kick off National Travel and Tourism Week, the GCCVB hosted a “Kickoff Party” at their office (441 Second Avenue) on Monday, May 8 from 1 – 5 p.m. City Commission President, Tony Gallagher, along with other city and county officials, joined the bureau’s board and staff members to recognize and proclaim the week of May 7-13 officially National Travel and Tourism Week in Gallia County with a proclamation.
Executive Director, Amanda Crouse said that “NTTW is more than celebrating the impacts of tourism, it’s also about recognizing those within the industry who work towards the same goals as us. They love this community and have a deep passion and love for what they do. They believe in us and Gallia County.”
On Tuesday, May 9, the GCCVB will be announcing the winner of the 2017 Gallia County Ambassador Program at the Colony Club at 5:30 p.m. There were six applicants this year who submitted an essay as to why they should be chosen to represent Gallia County and the bureau and were judged by two sets of paneled judges.
“Admission to the event is free of charge and the bureau welcomes the public to join them that evening as they proudly announce this year’s winner,” said Assistant Director Kaitlynn Halley.
This year’s winner will receive a $500 college scholarship for committing 50 hours of service to the community through events, volunteering and being active.
“The purpose of the ambassador program is to educate our youth and get them more involved in their community and giving them a better understanding of tourism and the important role it plays,” said Crouse. “Last year’s recipient, Rachael Bowman, set the bar high with her eagerness to become more involved and participate. Her positive energy was apparent and though her reign will be over next week and we’re sad to see her go, we look forward to working with this year’s winner.”
On Wednesday, May 10 at 1 p.m., Halley will go live on Rio Grande’s Cable Access. In collaboration with the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce, the bureau will host “Gallia Tourism LIVE” throughout the months of April through September on the second Wednesday of each month. Each episode will focus on different topics pertaining to tourism and regional history.
“We’ll also have special guests joining us,” said Halley. “This is another avenue for us to target the students at the University of Rio Grande and YouTube subscribers to promote our county. Mike Thompson and Pat Dengel have been wonderful to work with and we’re really excited for the networking opportunity.”
On Thursday, the bureau will be join with Washington Elementary third grade students as they have accepted the city passport challenge. Students will be spending the afternoon visiting a variety of locations and learning more about the community. The bureau will return to Washington Elementary on Monday, May 15 on Career Day presenting the “Tourism 101” program to students.
On Friday, Crouse and Halley will be visiting South Gallia High School and presenting “Tourism 101” to students.
“This is a program that Kaitlynn designed when she began working at the bureau. I asked her to find ways the bureau could become more involved with our youth and from that conversation, Tourism 101 came alive,” said Crouse. “Kaitlynn has coordinated with both county and city schools and has had great response from teachers inviting us to their classrooms. This program is really important to me and I’m really proud of Kaitlynn’s efforts and willingness to get out there and educate.”
On Saturday May 13, Gallia County will host the Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail for the eighth year. Starting the day with the Kids Rodeo at the Bob Evans Farm Pond in Rio Grande, the rodeo is for children ages 12 years and under. Registration for the event will take place from 8 – 9 a.m. with the actual event from 9-11 a.m. Each child that registers will be entered in a drawing to win 1 of 6 $1,000 college scholarships. Children will need to bring an adult, bait and fishing pole.
That afternoon, there will be 200 plus fishermen from the tri-state area weighing in at the Gallipolis Public Use Area.
“It’s quite the sight to see these fishermen showing off their catches of the day. Last year, Mark Blauvelt (New Lebanon) and Ryan Lawrence (Dayton) broke the West Virginia Blue Cat record weighing in at 60.14 lbs., crushing the previous record of 52.95 lbs. We’re looking forward to having the group back this year and years to come,” said Crouse.
On Wednesday, May 17, Southwestern Elementary will be bringing in another group of students that have “accepted” the city passport challenge. Halley and Administrative Assistant Lori Taylor, will be spending the day with the group as they tour the city and embark on a new adventure.
“The passport challenge is designed to accommodate groups and individuals, so if you’re interested in taking the challenges, give me a call for details and we’ll accommodate your groups’ needs the best we can. Everyone who completes the challenge will be entered in a contest to win additional prizes and everyone will receive a bag with goodies” said Halley.
The GCCVB can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 740-446-6882 or stop by their office at 441 Second Avenue, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The challenges can also be downloaded from their website www.VisitGallia.com.