TAB Grant Increases in Funding

Heber Valley Tourism and Economic Development and Wasatch County are pleased to announce the increase in available funds to the Tax Advisory Board’s grant program from $30,000 to $50,000 to support the marketing efforts of tourism and event partners in Wasatch County.

“We are very excited for the increase in funding from the county for this program. Now we’ll be able to help more of our businesses bring more visitors and guests who spend money to our valley,” said Ryan Starks, executive director of Heber Valley Tourism and Economic Development.

The Tax Advisory Board (TAB) grant program provides funds to local tourism and event partners doing projects within Wasatch County. These businesses apply for funds to be used on their marketing, advertising or public relations efforts.

Over the past several years the grant requests have exceeded the available funds by nearly double. Increasing the funds will give more opportunities for our businesses on already tight budgets to reach more people.

Funds are available on a one-to-one match to any tourism specific business or event that takes place in the county – effectively doubling the amount of money spent on marketing.

“By doing a match program with our partners we can take this $50,000 and make it $100,000 worth of marketing, which can make a substantial impact,” said Starks.

In the past the TAB has helped many events that locals and visitors enjoy such as the Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Classic, Heber Valley Horse Sale, Parker Woods Memorial, the Wasatch Mountain Music Festival, and the Commemorative Air Force Museum.

Deadline for application to for TAB grants is January 12, at 5:00 pm. Those interested in applying may call or email Rachel Kahler at [email protected] or at 435-654-3666.

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.