Courtesy of Luke Southern via Unsplash

The Washington Department of Commerce announced this week the formation of a $3.5 million grant program designed to financially support established small-community festivals and events. The application window began earlier this week and closes July 1 at 5 p.m.

The program is a collaboration between the department, the Washington Festivals and Events Association (WFEA), and ArtsWA. 

According to a Commerce release, the program supports “legacy” events, festivals, civic and holiday celebrations, cultural and heritage events, music festivals, and street and art fairs. (A legacy event, in the program’s purview, has gone on for more than five years and in places with populations of 100,000 people or less.) The grants are meant to be used to either restart or stabilize events that had been suspended or stalled in the last two years because of COVID-19, the release said. It added that covered expenses by the program include deposits on infrastructure (including lights, staging, sound equipment, security, and more) and staff and labor costs.

Awardees will receive between $5,000-35,000 — a range that is contingent on an organization’s needs and demonstrated losses.

“Communities across the state have had to postpone or cancel their events and celebrations over the last two years,” Robb Zerr, senior managing director for the Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness at Commerce, said in the release. “These activities are a source of tremendous community pride and identity and the revenue generated often support local non-profits, causes, and scholarships. We are thankful to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for providing funding to support communities across the state.”