A local festival is getting support from the area's economic development agency. 

The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority is contributing money to the Lake Chelan Wine and Jazz Festival. 

Festival Executive Director Kevin Brown says the event provides a boost for Lake Chelan businesses at a normally slow time of year. 

"Prior to this program starting, the weekend before Memorial Day, like the weekends before it in the shoulder seasons can be really tough," Brown said. 

The Lake Chelan Wine and Jazz Festival takes place the weekend before Memorial Day and brings in about 1,000 visitors who spend three to four days in the area. 

It typically features 50 performances over that time span. 

Brown made a presentation before the Port Authority board of directors at their most recent meeting. 

He said the festival lets visitors make a special connection to the Chelan area. 

"We believe that the arts, including jazz, and music of all genres within the jazz umbrella is a part of enriching the point of living here, and loving and living in this beautiful valley," said Brown. 

According to a Port Authority statement, the agency makes “strategic economic development investments in rural communities in Chelan and Douglas Counties” through its Partnership in Economic Development Program. 

The program allows for donations between $5,000 and $20,000 to nonprofit groups that “provide sustainable living wage jobs and stimulate private sector capital investment.” 

The Port is donating $10,000 to the festival, which is classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 

Port directors expressed some concern at their last meeting that the Wine and Jazz Festival did not exactly fit their criteria for offering contributions. Port Authority staff are making language changes to the criteria to closer fit the festival and other nonprofits that have applied for the funding. 

The festival itself draws a crowd largely from outside the Lake Chelan area and more than 70 percent comprised of visitors from Seattle and the west side. 

According to Brown’s presentation before the Port Authority board, the festival has spent more than a million dollars to sustain itself in its five-year history - $900K in operations and $200K in marketing. 

All proceeds the festival has generated, $98,000, have been donated to local Chelan and Manson schools’ music and viticulture programs. 

Brown said the festival draws an affluent crowd of people in their 40s, 50s, 70s and 70s who “aren’t shy about dining out and spending money” 

The Lake Chelan Wine and Jazz Festival will take place May 16-19 this year. 

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