The Hope Tourism Commission met at City Hall on Tuesday May 9th.  The April Minutes were reviewed. Juan Rivera put forth a motion to approve which was seconded and passed. The Revenue and Expenses were reviewed. Mayor Don Still put forward a motion to approve, which was seconded and passed
There was an update on the permits issued and there were fewer than the previous month.   Ceaser’s is sporadically missing, Southern Girls has closed and the Tab’s permit is not in the current owner’s name. Caesar’s is often an issue as six months out of the year they are late and they miss months at a time.
The meeting moved on to the issue of the cost of the ice rink for which $20,000 had been approved previously. As the cost has gone up to $21,000 Mayor Still made a motion for the new amount which was seconded and approved.
Christy Burns from the Chamber of Commerce and Anna Powell, from the UAHT Foundation spoke next. They stated that they were excited for the Watermelon Festival this year.  They asked for a sum of $15,000 to sponsor the Festival. Last year the amount was $10,000 but costs have gone up. They expressed excitement about Marshall Tucker, a Southern Rock group, playing this year.  Mayor Still expressed the reservation the concert was a money-maker for UAHT and the Chamber of Commerce. Powell stated it had always been designed to be a fundraiser for the Foundation but the college hadn’t been completely transparent about the issue in the past.  Mayor Still said that he didn’t have an issue with what they were doing. The statement was made that it would be a 50/50 split between the Chamber and the College.
This event was said to be a vital part of the Festival.  Powell stated  the College tries to do what they can with the funds and still make money and the Tourism Commission is considered a sponsor. Burns stated the Chamber cannot pay $20,000 on their own and probably get less than $5,000 on the event. Rivera made a motion to approve, which was seconded and passed.
Beckie Moore from the Klipsch Heritage Museum Foundation addressed the commission.  She requested $500 for Big Sounds Downtown. She talked about the performers during the events.  They will includ Jacob Flores from Hot Springs in June, the Dusty Rose Band in July and Covie in August. Covie is from Nigeria and now living in Mt. Pleasant. He has brought together a collection of artists playing Reggae/Soul with a little bit of rock.  Jacob Flores was a contestant on season 14 of American Idol.  Last year most people waited till the sun went down to see the bands, although there were good fans to keep people cool.  Steve Montgomery asked if Moore had thought about expanding. She asked for specification and he responded having the event twice a month. Moore responded they would need more help to do that. Mayor Still made a motion to approve the $500, which was seconded and approved.
Train/Trade Day was a success. The financials are still being processed but Parks Director Summer Chamber said they were positive. The Rib Cook Off had most the most entries ever with a total of 17. The car show had 26 cars entered. Cornhole only had 3 teams entered but the city was in competition with a huge Cornhole event in Dallas.  Trade Day had 30 vendors. The stage had the Dancetastics and Jazz Band perform as well as the Night Hawk Band and South Down Main.
The second annual Jack Williams Tournament had 26 teams that played with only two local teams. The event started at 8:00 and finished at 1:30 A.M. Teams were asked if they wanted to come back the next day but they preferred to play through.