ASHEVILLE, N.C. (October 30, 2019) – From time-honored events such as Shindig on the Green, Asheville Holiday Parade, and the Sourwood Festival, to relative newcomers like Asheville Celtic Festival, Asheville Mini Maker Faire, and WNC Garlic Fest, an eclectic collection of 21 festivals and cultural events received approval for a total of $86,500 in support from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority at its recent meeting on Oct. 30.

Funding for both the BCTDA’s major events sponsorship program and its festivals and cultural events grant program comes from unrestricted, earned income from paid advertising on the website. The BCTDA created this source of funding in recognition of the importance of community events in preserving heritage and culture, and creating gatherings and shared experiences for the people who live here.

The major events sponsorship program provides support to both new and existing events that are now, or potentially the next, leading festival or event. The festivals and cultural events grant program, with a funding cap of $1,000, is designed to support and preserve cultural identity within Buncombe County, stimulate the creation of new (or expansion of existing) events, and help festivals and cultural events become sustainable and financially viable.

Events and recipients of 2020 major events sponsorships are:

  • $10,000: Winter Lights at The N.C. Arboretum (The N.C. Arboretum Society)
  • $9,000: Sourwood Festival (Black Mountain-Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce)
  • $8,000: Shindig on the Green / Mountain Dance & Folk Festival (Folk Heritage Committee)
  • $7,000: Hola Asheville Celebration (Hola Community Arts)
  • $5,000 each: Asheville Holiday Parade, Asheville Independence Day Celebration, Downtown After 5 (Asheville Downtown Association)
  • $5,000: ASAP Farm Tour (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)
  • $5,000: Asheville Fringe Arts Festival (Asheville Fringe Society)
  • $5,000: LEAF Downtown (LEAF Community Arts)
  • $5,000: Southern Highland Craft Fair (Southern Highland Craft Guild)
  • $5,000: Taste of Asheville (Asheville Independent Restaurant Association)
  • $3,000: CiderFest NC (Green Built Alliance)
  • $3,000: {Re}HAPPENING & ReVIEWING Black Mountain College (Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center)
  • $1,000: Asheville Celtic Festival (Asheville Celtic Group)
  • $1,000: Asheville Mini Maker Faire (Asheville Makers, Inc.)
  • $1,000: WNC Garlic Fest (The Utopian Seed Project; Roots Foundation, fiscal agent)

Events and recipients of 2020 festivals and cultural events grants are:

  • $1,000: Asheville Mardi Gras Parade & Queen’s Ball (Asheville Mardi Gras, Inc.)
  • $1,000: Come to Leicester Artists Studio Tour (Leicester Artists; Leicester Community Center, fiscal agent)
  • $1,000: Montford Holiday Tour of Homes (Montford Neighborhood Association)
  • $500: Celebrate Zelda – Honoring the Life and Legacy of Zelda Fitzgerald (Aurora Studio & Gallery, Inc.)

Festivals, cultural events, and major events receiving funding via the rigorous application-based, committee-driven process are expected to attract both residents and visitors. They also receive marketing assistance from Explore Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote attendance. All recipients are 501(c) 3 or 501(c) 6 nonprofit organizations.

This support is unrelated to the Tourism Product Development Fund, which comes from 25 percent of the occupancy tax paid by overnight visitors to Buncombe County, with proceeds going to community and infrastructure projects.



Established by legislation in 1983, the BCTDA is a public authority with a public purpose that enhances the economic vitality of Buncombe County, benefiting local residents. Charged with promoting Buncombe County as a destination for visitors, thereby bringing customers to local businesses, the BCTDA invests occupancy tax revenue to attract some 3.9 million people who stay overnight in Buncombe County lodging facilities. These visitors spend $2 billion at local businesses annually, supporting 15 percent of employment in Buncombe and generating $119.1 million in state and local tax revenues, for a total economic impact of $3.1 billion.

TOURISM PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT FUND: Twenty-five percent of the occupancy tax paid by visitors goes to the Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF). BCTDA has provided TPDF grants totaling $44 million to 39 community projects since the fund’s inception in 2001, including the Enka Sports Complex, Pack Square Park, Asheville Community Theater, WNC Nature Center, the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway, Asheville Museum of Science, The Wortham Center, renovation of the U.S. Cellular Center, improvements to the River Arts District, and projects that are still in the planning phase, such as the African-American Cultural and Heritage District.

EXPLORE ASHEVILLE CONVENTION & VISITOR BUREAU: Under the oversight of the BCTDA, the Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) executes an extensive strategic marketing and sales program that inspires visitation and group meetings/travel while showcasing and offering free marketing services to 1,200 businesses that rely on visitors.

CONTACT:  Kathi M. Petersen

Director of Public Information & Community Engagement
Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

PHOTO CREDIT: LEAF Downtown – Reggie Tidwell