The contest is an opportunity for interested and experienced parties to pitch their idea and compete for funds to support the implementation or expansion of the event. Applicants will pitch a unique, well-researched, and practical concept for a new holiday-themed event to attract overnight stays to Batesville.
“This is a great opportunity for organizations and individuals to compete for start-up funds to support holiday events,” said Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce COO Jamie Rayford.
The A&P Commission is funding the pitch contest to oﬀset expenses related to promoting the area as the Christmas Capital of Arkansas™ and encourage tourism growth.
Award amounts range from $100 to $12,000. The number of awards granted depends on the applicant pool’s quality and request size.
“Batesville has built a reputation as the Christmas Capital of Arkansas™, and we are excited to see what new ideas our community comes up with,” concluded Rayford.
Learn more and start planning your event at experienceindependence.com.
Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. She was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, located in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
Drew became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association, where she and her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began working as the Ozark Gateway Region director in June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from the entire state 24/7. Over the years, Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 100,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
In 2016, she assisted in creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic. The tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to expand its co-op program and helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, and magazine distribution representative, all while ensuring that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew was featured in several local and statewide publications over the years, as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid, along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards, such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 and a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years. She now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines, and poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, is Batesville Rotary Club Past President, and is the Rotary Clubs’ current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.