WILMINGTON — Every county has its annual summer festivals and while Clinton County is no different, the Clinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau has worked to kick things up a notch or two.
Susan Valentine-Scott, who joined the CVB almost three years ago, has put a lot of her time into not only the traditional local festivals; she’s invested a lot of time and energy into other festivals as well as creating new ones.
“I think for us — since we don’t hold assets and our job is being funded by the bed taxes — is to turn it back into the community. And really investing into our festivals — our long-running festivals along with partnering at the college and supporting the Murphy (Theatre), Main Street, and some other entities,” said Valentine-Scott.
The CVB has invested almost $300,000 into the 2019 festivals, which include staples like the Banana Split Festival and the Corn Festival, but also into newer ones like the Nowhere Else Festival in Martinsville and Wilmington’s Rock the Block.
“We wanted to do something with the Murphy, and Rock the Block just sort of came to me,” she said. “This is our second year in doing this and we were able to help make them a profit of almost $20,000 last year from our first one. So, I can only imagine what this year will bring,” she said.
The CVB also wants to help out the county’s villages and their festivals, such as Sabina’s Family Fun Night and Blanchester’s Red, White and Blanchester Blue.
“We really need to cater to our villages. Their growth is so important, and when their growth is important, it affects the whole county,” said Valentine-Scott.
She highlighted that using the example of Nowhere Else being helmed by local favorite and some of the county’s newer residents, Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine.
“This year, we have proof — we have pictures of license plates from all over the place,” said Valentine-Scott. “We had California, Washington, New York, I mean it’s a national thing. We’re investing and working them.”
She added that, for the husband and wife team of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, to put down roots in the county shows a lot of growth.
“Of all the places they could’ve gone, they chose Clinton County and we have to admire that,” she said.
With all these festivals and events being expanding and growing in the county, Valentine-Scott thinks that shows how far things have come since DHL pulled out 10 years ago.
“Coming from living in South Bend, Ann Arbor, the Detriot area, the Chicago area, Cincinnati, I’ve lived in some big cities, and then coming back here, there’s really a lot to do here. We’re surrounded by three major cities that we can pull from. We’re probably not a vacation destination, but we’re definitely a weekend destination … and it’s definitely a fun place to come for the weekend,” she said.
As for the future, the CVB still plans on building new bridges while mending old ones.
“I think for so long the CVB was kind of not understood,” said Valentine-Scott. “I think we’ve really educated the community as to what we do. You see us everywhere, our logo is everywhere … and I think that’s the direction we want to go in. Branding who we are, coming up with a solid strategic marketing plan and investing in our people and businesses.”
The CVB, thankful for all the support they’ve received from locals, has already begun working on 2020 funding and is welcoming on any ideas for possible festivals or events they could help with.