‘Artisan Trail’ requests additional funding for tourism, biz development

The Rappahannock County Artisan Trail, in a letter sent to Rappahannock County Administrator Garrey W. Curry, is requesting an allocation of $5,000 in FY19 county funding to support the Trail’s “valuable . . . tourism and business development effort.”

As the budget now stands, the Trail was earmarked $3,000, the same amount it received last year.

“The Trail is a grassroots, all-volunteer program that focuses on supporting an important sector of our local businesses — the studios, workshops, and facilities of artisans, artists, agri-artisans, art venues, galleries, wineries, restaurants, lodging, cultural sites and retailers throughout Rappahannock County,” writes the Trail’s Action Team, which includes former Supervisor Mike Biniek.

This newspaper reported earlier this month that Rappahannock County in 2015 supported 241 jobs in the hospitality and tourism industry, a figure 400 percent higher than in 2000 when there were 60 jobs in the industry.

“[O]ur Trail is a shining example of the positive effects a public private partnership can have on our local economy,” wrote the team, which besides Biniek includes Patti Brennan, Allan Delmare, Sally Hayne, Jennifer Heverly, Susan Huff, Kelly Knight, Heidi Morf, Brooke Parkhurst, Audrey Regnery, Francie Schroeder, Bill and Virginia Watson, and Jane Whitfield.

“The Rappahannock County Artisan Trail represents unprecedented collaboration among businesses and members of the community,” the letter states. Through cross-promotion efforts, the Trail has collaborated with the local Farm Tour, Art Tour, and other widely attended events in Rappahannock County.

“These events draw visitors from the entire region, promoting Rappahannock County as a premier place to visit, drawing upon our distinctive Rappahannock way of life and rural environment,” reads the funding request.

The Rappahannock Trail is a program of the state’s Artisan Center of Virginia.

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at editor@rappnews.com.