Rooster Walk Receives Virginia Tourism Corporation Grant for Tourism Marketing

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Rooster Walk Inc. received
$10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage
Program grant fund on Monday. In total VTC awarded more than $812,000
for 39 tourism marketing projects across the state to help increase
visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.

The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities
attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will
ultimately impact at least 153 other statewide tourism entities. The
local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in
order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local
partners will match the VTC grant dollars with more than $2.6 million,
providing more than $3.4 million in new marketing to increase
visitation to Virginia.

Rooster Walk Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit, received a $10,000 grant for its
eighth annual Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival, which will take
place May 26-29th at Pop’s Farm in Axton. Rooster Walk Inc. partnered
with fellow nonprofits Arts at the Rives Theatre, Piedmont Arts
Association, and the Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Tourism Division
to supply $20,000 in matching funds for the project. The festival will
bring more than 4,000 visitors, 45 bands, and 35 arts and craft
vendors to M-HC over Memorial Day weekend. The festival will feature
five stages, children’s educational programming and the Tuff Strutter
5k, a trail race put on through a partnership with the
Martinsville-Henry County Family YMCA. In addition, a portion of
festival proceeds will be donated to the Penn-Shank Memorial
Scholarship Fund at Martinsville High School and Rooster Walk Inc.’s
Band Instrument Donation & Repair Program for entry-level band at
public schools in the city and county.

“Rooster Walk has grown to become one of the premiere cultural events
in our community, and the EDC is delighted to assist them in securing
state marketing funds,” said Jennifer Doss, director of tourism with
the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
“Visitors travel from all over the Mid-Atlantic to participate in the
multi-day festival each year and we know that with increased marketing
this following of loyal fans will continue to grow, boosting area

Visitors to Martinsville-Henry County generate $66.1 million dollars
in revenue, according to data from the United States Travel
Association. Tourism generates $1.37 million in local tax revenue for
M-HC, and 735 people are directly employed by the tourism industry in
M-HC, according to stats provided by the EDC.

Rooster Walk Inc.’s Jason Lagesse served as lead grant writer. He was
assisted by Bassett resident Phil Wenkstern, who volunteered his time
and expertise throughout the process.

The VTC Marketing Leverage Program is designed to stimulate new
tourism marketing through partnerships by leveraging limited marketing
dollars, resulting in increased visitor spending. A minimum of three
entities must partner financially to apply and may consist of Virginia
towns, cities, counties, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of
commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations,
private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events, and other
not-for-profit entities.

“The Marketing Leverage Grant program is designed to spur job
creation, economic development, and visitor spending through new or
enhanced tourism product,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These grants are
proven to increase visitation by creating marketing partnerships and
effective marketing programs.”

Research shows that every VTC dollar invested in grants resulted in
$16 of direct visitor spending. Marketing campaigns that received
Marketing Leverage Grants increased visitation by 15 percent.

“These grants support businesses across the Commonwealth, contributing
to the overall economic health of our communities,” said Maurice
Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “These public-private
partnership are a wonderful example of the power of collaboration, and
help support and grow a robust and diversified economy, encouraging
strategic marketing of tourism products and businesses across the

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2014, tourism
generated $22.4 billion in revenue, supported nearly 217,000 jobs and
provided $1.5 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in
tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for
Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus
to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.

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For more information about Rooster Walk Inc., its festival and the
charities that it supports, visit To learn about
concerts at the Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville, visit To learn about the exhibits and programming
offered by the Piedmont Arts Association, visit
To learn more about the Martinsville-Henry County area, visit