TODAY'S NEWS

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

Tourism groups get state grants

HARRISONBURG – Four Valley initiatives have received state funding to boost local and regional tourism. On Tuesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that more than $967,000 in matching grants will be distributed to 50 tourism programs statewide as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Program. A $50,000 grant will be split among Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, the city tourism office and the city Department of Economic Development. The Shenandoah Spirits Trail received a $36,000 grant to target millennials and baby boomers in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.The Passport to a Shenandoah BeerWerks Adventure, a 12-location beer trail featuring all four Harrisonburg craft breweries, received more than $22,000 for cross-promotion of each brewery and advertising outdoor activities. Today’s Shenandoah Valley Takes Flight, a collaboration led by the Shenandoah Valley Tourism Partnership and the Front Royal-based Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, also received $25,000 for the promotion of the Valley as “an outstanding year-round destination to global visitors."

State OKs regional economic development plan

HARRISONBURG – A five-year plan for economic growth in the Valley focuses on raising and retaining employment in five growing industries. On Sept. 13, the 24-member GO Virginia State Board approved an Economic Growth and Diversification Plan prepared by the program’s Region 8 Council. The council consists of 28 business and industry leaders in the 8th Region, which covers the Valley from Lexington to Winchester. GO Virginia, also known as the Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity in Each Region, was created in 2015 to encourage communities in nine regions of the state to work together to spur economic growth. It operates under the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The Region 8 plan calls for increased workforce recruitment and training in five industry sectors that are expected to grow in the Valley during the next five years.

Apple Butter Celebration this weekend at Skyland

SKYLAND — There’s one thing on the menu during Shenandoah National Park’s annual September festival — apples. Creamy apple butter, apple crafts and a special apple menu help celebrate the the park’s history and the culture of the surrounding areas during the Apple Butter Festival at Skyland Resort. This year’s installment of the annual celebration, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will feature BBQ pork sandwiches with apple cider BBQ sauce; grilled chicken sandwiches with bacon apple BBQ sauce; granny apple cole slaw; scalloped apples; apple cobbler; apple strudel; gala apple wedges with caramel; and hot and cold spiced apple cider.

Region sees bump in 2016 tourism revenue

HARRISONBURG — New marketing initiatives and the opening of new businesses contributed to a nearly 5 percent rise in average tourism revenue in four Valley counties and Harrisonburg in 2016. Shenandoah County reaped $213 million in tourism dollars during the 2016 calendar year, according to a report released by the Virginia Tourism Corp. earlier this month. Rockingham County followed close behind with $210 million, the report said. Page County collected $67 million from tourism in 2016, a 5.4 percent bump from the $63 million it collected in 2014 and 2015. Before that, the county received $61 million in 2012 and 2013.

Governor to visit Fisher’s Hill Battlefield

STRASBURG — Gov. Terry McAuliffe is coming to the Valley on Sept. 19 to celebrate Civil War battlefield preservation. McAuliffe and Julie Langan, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, will be at Fisher’s Hill Battlefield at 1:30 p.m. to announce the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation’s latest preservation efforts, including the complete preservation of the 70-acre Battle of Fisher’s Hill site at Gordon’s Hill. Gordon’s Hill was the site of a skirmish led by Confederate Gen. John B. Gordon. The event is free but registration is required on the SVBF’s website at www.shenandoahatwar.org.

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