Chelan Wine Industry Gets Taste Of Federal Funding
The Lake Chelan Grape Growers Association will get a share of grant money awarded by the U-S Department of Agriculture (USDA).
U-S Senator Maria Cantwell helped secure $490,000 to spur growth for small farms and rural businesses.
Bob Hargadon, chairman of the Lake Chelan Wine Alliance, says some of that money will support marketing efforts such as building a winery map for tourists.
"This is just a way for people to have a roadmap of all the places they can come see. There's a brief description of all the wineries and it helps them make choices around where to go when they're here." Hargadon said.
The $47,500 that the Grape Growers Association receives will also help fund monthly banners for city lights poles.
"You see this in Wenatchee and other places to showcase events. It plays well with traffic to create exposure. We work in concert with the Lake Chelan Chamber (Of Commerce) to help us with some of the banners that are available there." Hargadon said.
There are approximately 35 wineries that are part of the Lake Chelan Wine Alliance. Many of them have an interest in drawing people from the west side of the mountains to try and enjoy the region's offerings of food and wine. Hargadon says USDA funding will help with those efforts like it has in the past.
"We have an event called Taste Chelan. This is a ticketed event that occurred every Saturday in March where 16 wineries pair up with restaurants. People go to four or five different wineries and experience a fantastic and singular food and wine pairing," Hargadon said. "This is our key event that has to be promoted and so we utilize funds including some of the USDA funds to help promote that."
In other parts of North Central Washington, the USDA awarded $50,000 in grant money to develop an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) crosswalk and sidewalk connecting downtown businesses to a parking lot expansion, part of Bridgeport’s five-year revitalization plan.
Another $25,000 for the City of Bridgeport will fund the replacement of two welcome signs that burned in the 2020 Pearl Hill Wildfire.
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