Bellingham is looking for a new "signature event"

Ski to Sea, the annual multisport relay race where teams navigate snow, land and water from Mount Baker to Bellingham Bay, could be called Bellingham’s signature event.

The city of Bellingham announced Dec. 1 that it is looking for another signature event to draw tourists to town for overnight stays during the tourism off-season — from September to March.

The ideal event would highlight Bellingham’s brand as a great place for recreation, outdoors, food, arts and culture, while not duplicating other local or regional events, according to the city’s press release. 

Proposals for are due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2015.

“Establishing another signature event in Bellingham will not only build excitement for its residents and business owners but continue to establish a brand for Bellingham as an exciting destination,” Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville said in the release. “Being the central point between two large cities, we have a real opportunity to explore events that differ from what the larger cities offer and to encourage visitors to seek out Bellingham for something unique.”

The city of Bellingham has approximately $75,000 to put toward the event for 2015, and $50,000 for both 2016 and 2017.

Money for the event comes from the city’s lodging tax special projects fund, which is supported by lodging tax collected at hotels and motels in Bellingham. It is a separate fund from the tourism promotion fund, which awards yearly tourism promotion grants and is also supported by the city’s lodging tax.

Shannon Taysi, administration specialist in the city’s planning and community development office, said another goal for the event is to fill the growing number of hotel rooms in Bellingham.

“We have a large inventory of new hotel rooms that we need to fill up during off times,” she said.

For specifics about the projects goals and more information about how to apply, see the city’s request for proposals document at http://www.cob.org/documents/planning/boards-commissions/tourism/signature-event-2014rpf.pdf.

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