The Berea Tourism Commission awarded grants to various organizations and events thought to bring visitors and revenue into the city during a regular meeting Thursday night at city hall.

After announcing each grant applicant, members of the commission voiced opinions on whether they agreed with the executive committee's grant recommendations.

Swing for a Cure, a charity softball tournament, requested and received $1,000.

The Battle of Richmond requested $618, but was granted $1,000.

Berea Arena Theatre was granted their requested $2,500 despite the committee's original suggested amount of $1,500 after commission discussion. Commissioner Pat Greathouse cited the theater as a place visitors can go after 6 p.m., which is far between in Berea.

Berea Makers Market received $1,000 of their requested $1,700, while the Berea Celtic Festival received $1,700. The case was made for the music festival which Commissioner Patrick Huston noted brings in visitors from other countries.

The Berea Chamber of Commerce requested an additional $5,000 for the Spoonbread Festival. Tourism Chairman Ahmad Reynolds said $5,000 had been granted at a previous meeting. The recommendation from the executive committee was $0, however tourism commission members granted an additional $2,000. Commissioner Dale Ballinger made the case for Spoonbread citing the amount of people that travel in to attend the event. Commissioner Rick Thomas said he was conflicted about Spoonbread, acknowledging the benefits of the event, but said he didn't like how the additional request was made (he cited the justification within the letter for the request was that other groups had received more).

"(I) just hope that in a small town … it looks like we could figure out how to get along and work toward common goals," he said.

The chamber's other event, the annual Christmas parade, was granted $1,000 of their requested $2,500.

Sustainable Berea was granted $2,500 to promote agrotourism efforts. The Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen was granted $2,500, as well.

Levitt AMP Berea received an additional $4,800 of the requested $7,000. It was noted that at a previous meeting, $3,000 had been given from tourism in support of the event.

Thomas cited the good community spirit at the (concert series). Commissioner Cheryle Stone said the series gives people a reason to come to Berea for a high-quality and diverse event.

In other news:

• Eddie Kennedy of Berea Arena Theatre invited all to attend the Woodsongs Gathering of Song Farmers Old-Time Pickin' Party Oct. 12-13 at the theater. The event is free, and the gathering will be 7-9 p.m. each day.

• The next Berea Tourism meeting will be Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. in the Berea City Hall community room.

Reach Critley King at 624-6623; follow her on Twitter @critleyking.

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