MARQUETTE - Do you know what goes into bringing an event to Marquette County? If you or an organization you know has an event they want to bring to Marquette County, the Marquette County Convention & Visitors Bureau is here to help.
Events like the Tall Ships, Blues Fest and the Marquette Marathon received help and support from the MCCVB when they were just dreams that groups hoped to one day bring to the area.
"We are always open to helping people create new events," director Pat Black said. "Sometimes we offer financial help or advertising help."
The Marquette County Convention &?Visitors Bureau supports conventions and Marquette events such as Italian Fest. (Photo courtesy of the MCCVB)
The U.P. 200 sled dog races are one of the events supported by the Marquette County Convention & Visitors Bureau. (Photo courtesy of the MCCVB)
The Fourth of July fireworks, also supported by the Marquette County Convention & Visitors Bureau. (Photo courtesy of the MCCVB)
The MCCVB can create bids to host conventions and events to bring visitors to the area. They also can provide financial or advertising assistance. They help develop websites or purchase TV advertising for free.
"We work with TV6 so an event gets X number of free ads," Black said. "It has been a very successful program and event people like it."
Anyone can come into the convention and visitors bureau and sit down with Pat and discuss bringing an event to the area. That's how the Marquette Marathon got started as an idea brought to the MCCVB by a small group of people.
"We got behind them financially and that event has grown every year," Black said. "The race is now a qualifier for the Boston Marathon."
Blues Fest was also just a dream, but when they brought their idea to the MCCVB, it became a reality. The group had wanted Blues Fest to be on Labor Day weekend, which at one time was a very challenging weekend for hotels, because with school going on very few people were traveling. So, the MCCVB went to work.
They helped introduce legislation that would push the start of the school year until after Labor Day to allow more time for tourism. When the legislation passed, Blues Fest was poised to take place on Labor Day weekend to bring visitors to the area.
"It (the legislation) did make a difference people were ready to travel on labor day weekend," Black said. "So what used to be a bad weekend for the hotels we have worked hard to bring people in to sell rooms."
Now, the funds to bring events to Marquette County doesn't come from tax dollars, but from an agreement between the local hotels and the MCCVB.
The agreement was put into place in 1984 by Public Act 59, which designated that any county that wanted to bring all their hotels together could form a room assessment district. A room assessment district holds that for every hotel room sold in the county, a surcharge is put on that room. Those funds come back to the convention and visitors bureau and are used to create the budget which the MCCVB uses to advertise the area.
So, it is a cycle; the more events the MCCVB brings to the area, the more hotel rooms are sold and the more money goes into the budget to promote Marquette County.
"We are very lucky in Marquette that we don't have hotels closing and going out of business," Black said. "I think over the years, we have seen a direct rise in visitors to the area."
So, if you or an organization you know wants to bring an event to Marquette County, follow these simple steps: First, check the calendar of events on the Marquette County Convention & Visitors Bureau website www.travelmarquettemichigan.com/ to make sure there are not an excessive number of events going on the day of your event.
"I encourage them to look at that calendar to make sure there are not four other events going on at the same time," Black said. "The last thing we want is for hotels to run out of hotel rooms."
Then, take the information about your event to Black at the MCCVB. They have forms to fill out to request financial support, advertising, or in-kind help like developing a website or putting in a bid for an event.
If your event gets the green light, the MCCVB will help you ever step of the way to make your event a reality.
"We want people to understand that we do that," Black said. "We want to bring more events and conventions to the area."
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