The Gonzales Convention and Visitor Bureau (GCVB) Advisory Board kicked off the new year by funding a few familiar events. The board reapproved hotel occupancy tax (H.O.T.) funding requests Jan. 16 from the South Texas Camp of Champions, the Come and Taste It festival, the Texas Independence Relay and the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. All of these events funded are returning from previous years.
Statutorily, H.O.T. funds can only be dispersed to promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry in the city. The GCVB has authority to approve H.O.T. fund requests up to $5,000 without approval of the Gonzales City Council. All requests approved at the meeting Thursday were at or below that threshold.
The South Texas Camp of Champions is a renowned baton twirling camp open for all skill levels. The summer camp selected Gonzales as its home last year and is expected to return on June 24-26, 2020. On top of the week-long summer camp, campers were also invited to perform at the Main Street Summer Concert Series.
“I think it worked well last year,” board member Jean Peterek Burns said.
The rest of the board seemed to be in agreeance with Burns and approved the event’s funding request for $4,000. Last year the camp received $5,000 in H.O.T. funds and filled approximately 40 hotel rooms in Gonzales across four-to-five nights. Events are encouraged by the city to request less funding each year until the event is entirely self-sustaining.
One reoccurring event did buck the trend of requesting less: The Gonzales Inquirer’s Come and Taste It craft beer festival. In its third year, the festival was awarded the maximum without council approval, $5,000, after receiving half that amount in 2018 and 2019.
The Inquirer’s publisher Terence J. Fitzwater said the increased funds would be used for targeted social media, radio and video advertising for festival promotion as well as to book more prominent musicians. Come and Taste It is scheduled to return April 24-25.
The GCVB granted funding for the Texas Independence Relay. The race is a roughly 200-mile journey retracing the route of Sam Houston and the Texan Army. The relay begins in Gonzales and ends in downtown Houston.
The GCVB board approved a restructured agreement with the event that included $2,500 in H.O.T. funding. Changes to agreement included the city providing two extra porta potties and the event finding its own table and chair rental service instead of using the city. This year’s edition of the relay is slated for March 27-28.
Lastly, the GCVB board approved a request for $875 from the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. The funds will be used to cover tuition costs of 2020 Texas Travel Industry Association Travel and Tourism College for chamber administrative assistant Liz Reiley-DuBose. Just as they did last year, the GCVB agreed to cover tuition costs while the chamber will cover lodging and travel.