Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Top: Illumination Festival. Bottom Left: Tour de Donut. Bottom Right: YOLO: Festival of Races
GREENVILLE, OH – The Darke County Visitors Bureau released the names of the recipients of the 2015 Darke County Tourism Grant. This year, three recipients were chosen. They are: Illumination Festival, Tour de Donut and YOLO: Festival of Races.

“The grant committee received several applications from various organizations throughout Darke County,” stated grant committee member, Lisa Martin. “All of the applications came from great organizations with worthwhile events to promote. The three recipients chosen were those that best align with the purpose of the Visitors Bureau grants: to provide funding to market events that attract overnight visitors and impact local economy.”

The Illumination Festival started with a handful of people with a common goal in mind – to bring the top artists in contemporary Christian music to Darke County. After the first year it was clear that Darke County residents were ready for this to become an annual event. Now in its ninth year, the Illumination Festival Committee has continually expanded, and this year has made some major changes as the event has moved back to Saturday. While the committee still has details to work out, The Illumination Festival will continue to be a family friendly, quality day of events and an amazing concert to wrap up the evening. While there is a good representation of Darke County residents, more and more people from outside the community are discovering the Illumination Festival with tickets having been sold to persons from across western Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. But that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise since they attract the top names in the music industry, such as TobyMac, Newsboys, Big Daddy Weave, MercyMe, Sanctus Real, Tenth Avenue North, Plumb, and Britt Nicole to name a few. Bands have yet to be named for this year. Illumination Festival is supported by a grant from the Darke County Visitors Bureau that helps us in the marketing of the festival to the surrounding counties.

The committee responsible for putting the event together includes Marty and Connie McCabe, Daryl Riffle, Dan Franks, Julie Strait, Chris Hammaker, Nick Hammaker, Jennifer Thomas, John Gilmore, Sean Lawrence and Ryan Berry.

The Tour de Donut is successfully ran by Rocketship Sports Management, a non-profit event management company that promotes athletic events that it owns, and assists other non-profits in maximizing their return on running, cycling and multisport races. Founded in 2007, the group has produced over 200 events including state and national cycling championships. The group is probably most known for The Tour de Donut or Colavita-Zipp time trial series though also promotes The Grand Lake marathon, The Donut Dash and The Shawshank Hustle.

The Tenth Annual Tour de Donut will take place in Arcanum on the first Saturday after Labor Day, September 12, 2015. The event is like no other as it combines bicycle riding and donut eating. In 2007, more than 100 racers took part and last year, more than 1,800 from 26 states and 5 countries ate 750 dozen donuts. A fun-filled weekend of activities begins Friday afternoon with Friday evening dinner rides and entertainment before the free kids’ events and rides take place on Saturday. New for 2015 will be totally new courses, for all 3 ride distances. Full details are available at: www.thetourdedonut.com

The YOLO Organization, founded by Phillip and Jodi Pierri, strives to continuously improve the community while bringing together high-energy people to promote healthy lifestyles and to embrace life to the fullest. The Pierri’s created the YOLO organization because of their passion to give back to their community. Their events include the YOLO Festival of Races, Poultry Day’s 5K and the YOLO Open. All proceeds from these events will be administrated through the Darke County Foundation. These funds will be used for community projects throughout Darke County that the entire community can enjoy.

“We want to thank the Darke County Visitors Bureau for their continued support,” expressed Phillip Pierri. Please visit www.YOLOorg.com for more information on the YOLO Organization.

“With the award of these three grants, the Darke County Visitors Bureau takes another step toward achieving its mission to attract visitors to Darke County,” stated Roger Van Frank, President of the Darke County Visitors Bureau Board of Trustees.

Funds are made available to non-profit tourism attractions and organizations sponsoring special events and programs in Darke County. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, with primary consideration given to applications, which: (1) attract overnight visitors; (2) attract visitors from more than 50 miles outside of Darke County and (3) feature new or expanded events or programs.

“This grant program is designed to encourage creative thinking to gain “new” money from travelers into our community,” stated Executive Director, Deanna York. “Many new ideas and concepts were presented during this process. The bureau encourages local non-profit organizations to continue to think outside the box and apply for the grant.”

To learn more about these events as well as other festivals and activities taking place in Darke County, please visit www.VisitDarkeCounty.org.

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