Grant applications from nonprofit organizations due Sept. 28 for events taking place in 2022

(Asheville, N.C. – July 23, 2021): From time-honored events such as Shindig on the Green, the Sourwood Festival in Black Mountain, and the Eliada Corn Maze, to cultural celebrations like the Blue Ridge Pride Festival, Hola Asheville, and the Goombay Festival, an eclectic collection of nonprofit organizations have received funding over the past several years through the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s Festivals and Cultural Events Support Fund.

The grant program, started in 2016 to provide financial support for local events that showcase and preserve the cultural identity of the community, has been relaunched following a one-year suspension due to the pandemic and restrictions placed on mass gatherings. Applications for festivals and cultural events occurring in the 2022 calendar year are now being accepted through Sept. 28 with grant awards announced in late October of $1,000 to $5,000 (not to exceed 50 percent of the total event budget).

The number of grants awarded will be limited by available funds and monies will be disbursed in 2022 following the successful completion of each event. Grantees also receive marketing assistance from Explore Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote attendance. For a Festivals and Cultural Events Support Fund 2021 Program Guide and application form, visit

Funding for the Festivals and Cultural Events grant program comes from revenue earned through advertising sales and lodging reservations booked on Occupancy tax revenue, which is governed by North Carolina law and paid by overnight visitors to Buncombe County, is ineligible to be used for this support fund.

During the pandemic when the grant program was paused, earned revenue was contributed to the One Buncombe COVID relief fund. The Buncombe County TDA approved a lead gift of $50,000 to the fund in March 2020 and a second contribution of $40,000 in January 2021.



Explore Asheville works under the oversight of the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, a public authority with a public purpose to enhance the economic vitality of Buncombe County. The team of professionals at Explore Asheville executes an extensive strategic marketing and sales program that inspires visitation and group meetings and travel while showcasing and providing free marketing opportunities to 1,300 local businesses and nonprofits, many of them small and micro-sized operations.

In 2019, the value that more than 4 million overnight visitors contributed to the community was $3.3 billion, generating $881 million in income for nearly 28,000 jobs for local residents. The Buncombe County TDA and Explore Asheville are committed to four strategic imperatives that align with broader community priorities: Deliver Balanced Recovery & Sustainable Growth, Encourage Safe & Responsible Travel, Engage & Invite More Diverse Audiences, and Promote & Support Asheville’s Creative Spirit.


Kathi M. Petersen, Director of Public Information