Rotary Gardens earns tourism grant
JANESVILLE Rotary Botanical Gardens' Holiday Light Show has received a $20,000 Joint Effort Marketing grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism to brighten prospects for holiday tourism in Rock County.
The money will be used to fund advertising efforts through print, radio, billboards and the Internet, as well as direct mail pieces. Marketing efforts will target people in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois with a goal of attracting at least 4,390 visitors from outside of Rock County and generating an economic impact of $340,664 from traveler spending at area hotels, restaurants and stores, according to a Gardens' news release.
A goal has been set to increase attendance at the annual Holiday Lights show to 11,550 visitors. The show kicks off Friday, Nov. 30, with the Gardens' Taste of Chocolate. The event includes a dinner, a local chocolate tasting and premiere viewing of the Holiday Light Show that is scheduled for Thursdays through Sundays, Dec. 13-16, 20-23 and 27-30.
Gardens' leaders also hope the marketing effort will allow them to book up to six bus tours to Janesville for the Holiday Light Show that allows visitors to stroll through 20 acres of illuminated pathways in the internationally themed gardens.
The show will feature animated light displays, more than 300,000 lights, 90 specialty displays, 150 decorated Christmas trees, 2,000 luminaries and 250 icicles hanging from trees.
Also featured at the Holiday Light Show will be beverages and holiday snacks, make-and-take crafts, photos with Santa, live entertainment and an electric train.
The local botanical gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive, was first given a $15,000 JEM grant in 2011 to spread the word about the Holiday Light Show.