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CVB Executive Director Laura Meadows delivers her quarterly report to Upshur County commissioners last week.

Meadows: Event center logged one of its most profitable quarters over past four months

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau quarterly report showed that the Event Center at Brushy Fork has remained busy with a total of $17,239 in total revenue in the first four months of fiscal year 2021.

Executive Director of the Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau Laura Meadows attended the Thursday, Jan. 16 Upshur County Commission meeting to give her quarterly report and talk about the future of the bureau.

She said the event center had one of its biggest quarters and had to actually turn events away.

“Sean (Harris, event center manager) had so many back-to back events, he would flip a room from Friday night for an event on Saturday and we’re at the point of, ‘is it really worth it to have everybody bust their butts basically overnight until 2 a.m. to prep for a Saturday event?’ But it’s amazing to see that we can do it and that there’s a need for it,” Meadows said.

She said the center 37 events took place at the event center from July to the end of December.

One of these events was the Shriners’ dinner in October.

“We were super happy to welcome them back to Upshur County, and they were satisfied with how everything went, so they’re going to come back with us in April and host another elimination dinner,” Meadows said.

January is considered the event center’s slow season, but that will change come March.

“January is usually pretty slow, February starts picking up and as soon as we hit March for the rest of the year, it’s pretty busy,” Meadows said. “I think again, we’re going to see another year where we’ve exceeded our goal that we set at the beginning of the year.”

Meadows highlighted other CVB activities over the past several months.

“Our whole mission is to promote Buckhannon and Upshur County to a group of people that live outside of our area so that way, they can learn what we already know – that Buckhannon is a really great place to visit, to live, to stop through on the way up to skiing,” Meadows said. “Any way we can get people to have some exposure to our area, that’s our main goal.”

The CVB is open to working with different groups to bring more activity to the Buckhannon area Meadows said, reviewing events the bureau collaborated on in the past quarter.

“The West Virginia Community Development hub, I don’t know if you saw much of their publications, but they hosted a conference here in Buckhannon at the Opera House in October where they brought in I think, pushing 200 people,” Meadows said. “To have that many people on Main Street was really pretty cool.”

Meadows said in December the CVB participated in several holiday activities, including their scavenger hunt.

“We do a Christmas scavenger hunt each year, and I think this was our sixth or seventh year doing that,” Meadows said. “It’s always fun for the kids and it’s something free that they can go out and just visit local businesses and you get a chance to win a few prizes.”

She said in the future she is hoping to get more exposure for the county and the bureau by having tables available at festivals and fairs.

“I’ve reached out to the Maple Syrup Festival to see if we could have a booth up there and we will be at Festival Fridays,” Meadows said. “If there’s any kind of local event where our presence would be a benefit, then we’re going to try to make it there and I started thinking we can’t just have a booth with our brochures on it because it’s really boring, so we’ve got fun stuff and we’ve got viewfinders that highlight different attractions.”

Another future project Meadows said they believe they can bring back is an advertising grant program for local tourism businesses.

“Whenever our budget adjusted with running the Event Center, that was something that we had to cut away,” Meadows said. “We’ve been fortunate because we’ve been really conservative with how we spend our money. We do have money set aside in our savings account for special projects, so we talked to the board, and we are going to set aside $10,000 in our savings account to do the advertising grant program, again, for 2020. So, local tourism related businesses can receive up to $1,000 to advertise and promote their business.”

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