Alva Review-Courier -

Turkeys, cars, basketball and art among tourism tax grants


February 19, 2023

Focusing on tourism, the Alva Chamber of Commerce has placed ads in the Oklahoma Travel Guide and the Oklahoma State Parks and Outdoor Guide, using tourism tax funds. They recently published the Visit Alva guide. The publications are available at the Chamber office in Visitors Center.

Due to a lack of grant requests, the City of Alva Tourism and Convention Development Committee has not met since September. February's meeting made up for it with five applications. The committee also heard a tourism report from the Alva Chamber of Commerce.

For many years, Norville Ritter served as chairman of the committee, but he resigned at the end of last year. First on the agenda for Wednesday's meeting was the appointment of a chairperson. Committee members present were Melinda Barton, Scott Kline, Terri Parsons and Sadie Bier. Chamber Executive Director Jodie Bradford-Stevison handled the minutes and roll call. The committee still has one vacancy due to Ritter's resignation.

Bier immediately nominated Barton as chairperson, obviously a surprise to Barton. Kline seconded, and the motion carried with three yes votes. Barton abstained.

Alva Mayor Kelly Parker attended the meeting to answer any questions about financial statements. He provided information showing the pooled cash account balance is now $1.9 million. When it was discovered money from some accounts had been "loaned" to make up deficits in the general fund, the financial statements showed positive balances in all the accounts except the general fund which would have had a negative balance. Now all those "loans" have been paid back and the accounts are "fully funded", he said.

Committee members approved the financial reports for September through January before hearing from applicants for tourism tax grants.

Lt. Governor's Turkey Hunt

Jeremy Zeller, executive director of the Woods County Economic Development Committee, presented a request for $2,500 for the Lt. Governor's Invitational Turkey Hunt. He said that would be applied to lodging for guests who stay two nights. So far, twelve guests are booked for the event April 19-21.

Zeller explained the turkey hunt is aimed toward business retention and expansion as well as economic development. It provides the opportunity to show off what Woods County has to offer. Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell will attend the Thursday, April 20, dinner which usually hosts about 100 to 150 people. Bier made a motion, seconded by Parsons, to grant up to $2,500 for the event, and the vote was unanimously in favor.

Crazy Cool Boulevard Cruise

William Theademann, president of R.A.C.E., spoke to the committee about the Crazy Cool Boulevard Cruise to be held July 15. This will be the seventh year for the event, and it has grown every year. Approximately 2,500 people attended last year. In addition to the nostalgic cruise night beginning at 8 p.m., there will be live music and food trucks along Oklahoma Boulevard. The Alva Chamber and R.A.C.E. sponsor the cruise.

To make this a two day event, a swap meet will be set up Friday night, July 14, and continue on Saturday downtown. The cruise is scheduled to coincide with the Crazy Days retail shopping event in Alva.

Theademann noted that two high school class reunions were scheduled the same weekend last year to take advantage of the entertainment. The request for $3,700, the same as last year, was approved unanimously.

Big Cruise and Car Show

One of the biggest events in Alva is scheduled for Sept. 15-17. The Big Cruise and Car Show is sponsored by the Alva Chamber and R.A.C.E. but numerous others volunteer help with the event. Joe Phillips, R.A.C.E. vice president, said the three-day event begins on Friday and continues into Sunday. Saturday night includes a cruise on Oklahoma Boulevard. This will be the 22nd year for the event.

Phillips said his goal is 500 entries for the show, but they haven't quite reached that total. One year there were over 490 entries. The event costs about $67,000, and they were asking for $28,700 in tourism tax funds. Committee members quickly approved a motion granting the $28,700.

AHS/NWOSU Shootout

Dave Foster, Alva High School athletic director, assistant principal and head football coach, presented a request for $6,677.48 for the AHS/NWOSU Shootout, a basketball tournament to be held Dec. 7-9. The tournament games begin at 10 a.m. each day and conclude around 9:30 p.m. The tournament includes eight boys' and eight girls' varsity teams. At the same time, a JV tournament is held in the smaller gym at the high school.

Foster explained that each visiting team will receive $500 as an incentive to participate, and if they stay overnight in Alva, they get another $500. The request was for $5,000 toward this incentive plus $1,677.48 to offset the loss on last year's tournament. In the past, Share Trust has donated money for the tournament, but Foster said he hasn't heard from them yet.

Parsons explained that the committee can't provide funds to offset debt. Parsons made a motion, seconded by Kline, to give the Shootout up to $5,000. The motion passed unanimously.

Nescatunga Arts Festival and Sugar Show

Erin Davis and April Ridgway spoke to the committee about the Nescatunga Arts Festival and Sugar Show to be held June 2-4. At the request of the tourism committee, it has been turned into a three-day event beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday and continuing to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Davis said there will be musical entertainment Friday night and booths will be set up then. The program will continue from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and the Sunday hours will be noon to 3 p.m. A lot of children's activities are planned including the petting zoo, inflatables and a train.

The biggest change is moving the event to the Northwestern Oklahoma State University campus. Davis said last year due to a rain threat, the event was moved indoors at 4 Generations Grain while the Sugar Show remained downtown. The NWOSU campus location offers the advantage of being able to move indoors to Perceful Fieldhouse. She said the quilt show will also be moved to the campus with displays along the railings.

Barton expressed concern about the move, saying the retail businesses downtown really benefit from the event, and they're the ones who support activities like this. Davis said she talked with people from six businesses downtown who said they see no increase in sales from the event, and those attending take up all the parking so customers can't find space.

Davis said last year they tried out a Popping Around Alva idea with cards to be punched when sponsoring businesses were visited. Participants had to have three punches to enter their cards for the drawing, and they had to be present to win. The prizes were gift baskets. She said they are planning to push this more to encourage people to go downtown.

Ridgway spoke about the Sugar Show, saying she was surprised at the number of entries for their first show last year. She said this year workshops will be added to help those wanting to create sugar entries.

The committee unanimously approved the request for up to $15,000 which will be used for advertising, cash awards to artists, entertainment, BOSS Music, the sugar show and outside activities.

Alva Chamber Tourism Report

Magen Lehr and Tricia Coday presented a report on tourism efforts to the committee. They distributed copies of the Oklahoma Travel Guide and Outdoor Guide containing ads for Alva. This advertising is paid for through the $43,000 approved for the Chamber from tourism tax funds. Portions are used for tourism tax clerical work and visitor's center support with $25,000 for tourism.

A video of the meeting may be viewed at


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