Gretchen Floyd Artisans TrailSustainFloyd is excited to announce plans for the first Floyd Artisan Trail Tour in June 2011 and to announce a grant award of $ 5,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation to assist in marketing the event.

The Floyd Artisan Trail Tour is a week-long event featuring ‘Round the Mountain Artisan Trail sites of Floyd County, with activities at artisan home-studios, farms and farm stores, galleries and shops, and lodging sites and restaurants. While town-based trail sites will be participating, the event will highlight home-studios and farms to encourage visits to businesses throughout the county.

The Tour will be held Friday, June 10 through Wednesday, June 15, 2011 with an Artisan Tour Opening Exhibit on Friday, June 10 that highlights participants and their products. The exhibit will remain open for the duration of the week to provide a central town locale for information about the week of activities and to exhibit a sample of trail site offerings.

We plan to build on Floyd’s reputation and downtown development to provide visitors with unique experiences at many diverse sites throughout the county,” shared Pat Sharkey, coordinator for the SustainFloyd project. “The tour will broaden the view and experience of Floyd in a way that is comfortable, easy and rich for the visitor, and provide economic opportunities for local businesses – many at their home-based studios and farms.”

SustainFloyd, Hotel Floyd and The Station partnered this fall in the application for the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program grant to assist in marketing the June 2011 event. The VTC announced the award of the $ 5,000 matching grant to SustainFloyd as lead partner in the grant application. A $ 5,000 commitment by the local grant partners will be matched by the Virginia Tourism Corporation to provide a $ 10,000 marketing budget for the tour. SustainFloyd will also provide a part-time coordinator for the tour.

Floyd County has played a major role with ‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network (RTM). This year, RTM is completing the development of the Regional Artisan Trail Network across its 19-county service area. The trails are a regional network of driving trails that link visitors to artisan studios, farms and agri-tourism sites, galleries and unique lodging and restaurants. Each participating community has created their local trail loop and a local Artisan Trail Brochure as part of the regional project. Floyd was the first county to complete their Artisan Trail loop and was also the first community to complete its Artisan Trail Brochure. The Floyd Artisan Trail Tour will highlight those artisans and businesses who have joined the RTM Trails and will be held at the same time major state marketing begins for the Regional Trail Network.

SustainFloyd (www.sustainfloyd.org) is a non-profit organization committed to helping develop the local economy by promoting local agriculture, local artisans and Floyd businesses in order to develop a sustainable economy. Other SustainFloyd projects include Floyd’s weekly Farmers Market and Artisan Market at the Community Pavilion. For more information about the Floyd Artisan Trail Tour, contact Pat Sharkey at 540-651-4819 or happyday@swva.net.