Glacier National Park Fall Photo
Whitefish Chamber Wednesday Update: Oct. 21, 2020
In this issue
  • Ladies Day/Night Out cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns
  • Ad sales underway for Chamber's 2021 visitor & relocation guide
  • Local lodgers urged to take part in Fall 2020 Survey
  • To trick or treat ... or not?  What're your plans for October 31?
  • Parks & Rec Department plans 'Virtual Costume Contest' for kids
  • New Tourism Grant Program available through MT Department of Commerce
Local retailers opt to take a year off
Ladies Day Out cancelled by COVID 

     As COVID-19 infection rates continue to climb in the Flathead Valley and beyond, the Whitefish Chamber -- and our downtown retailers and restaurants -- decided last week to cancel this year's Ladies Night/Day Out event, which had been scheduled for this weekend.

     After meeting via Zoom with a group of concerned downtown business owners, Chamber Membership Director Melisa Ellis announced that the popular annual shopping event has been cancelled for 2020.

     "We're obviously disappointed to have to cancel the event," Ellis said.  "Our staff -- and downtown businesses --  worked very hard to come up with a way to stage this event safely, and we had a pretty good plan in place to eliminate the crowds and craziness that Ladies Night Out is known for."

'Just too risky' to hold event this weekend
     Among other things, the event was changed from a one-night, three-hour madhouse to a more relaxed day-long Saturday afternoon event, and the usual array of crazy contests, give-aways and free libations were eliminated to create a safer atmosphere for all.  

     But in the end, there was no getting around the fact that COVID-19 is still on the rise in our community, and that events like Ladies Night Out have the potential to be "super-spreaders."

     "It's just too risky right now to hold this event," Ellis said.  "At a time when we are fighting just to keep our schools, our businesses and economy open, it seemed irresponsible to us to promote an event that typically brings hordes of happy customers to our downtown area."

     Ellis thanked the 40-plus Whitefish businesses for their participation in the planning of the event, and promised that Ladies Night Out will be back in 2021, bigger and better than ever.
Reserve your spot today!
Ad sales underway for
2021 Whitefish Guide

     As 2020 begins to wind down, we're hard at work putting together the 2021 Whitefish Community Guide ... the "ultimate guide to all things Whitefish."

     The 64-page, four-color magazine serves as the Chamber's official Visitor and Relocation Guide, with more than 7,000 copies distributed to folks interested in visiting -- or moving to -- the Whitefish area each year.

     The Guide is also the official membership directory for the Chamber, and features sections on Economic Development, Real Estate, Education, Healthcare, Special Events, Local History, Chamber Events & Programs ... in addition to complete Restaurant, Lodging and Activity guides.

     If you're interested in promoting your business in the 2021 Whitefish Community Guide, call Clint Webb at 260-6981, or email today!
CVB wants to know: How's your season shaping-up?
Local lodgers urged to take Fall survey

      In an effort to better understand the current status of Fall visitation to Whitefish and the effect that COVID-19 is having on the local tourist trade, the Whitefish Convention & Visitors Bureau is asking local lodging properties to take part in a quick -- and anonymous -- Lodging Survey.

     The information gathered will be compiled into a report which will be available to the community next week.  If you own more than one lodging property, the CVB asks that you please submit a separate survey for each business that you own/operate.

     The survey takes less than five minutes to complete, so CLICK HERE now to let us know how your hotel, motel, lodge, condo, rental home or bed and breakfast is faring for the Fall shoulder season and beyond!
What are YOUR plans for Oct. 31??
Halloween plans uncertain in the era of COVID Era

     The City is discouraging kids from door-to-door treat gathering in our neighborhoods, and urging adults to "mask-up" and maintain social distance if they venture downtown on Oct. 31.

     Meanwhile, downtown merchants (and local parents) are wondering what -- if anything -- will be happening with the traditional "Trick or Treat Street" celebration in the Central Avenue business district this Halloween.

     The simple answer is ... nobody knows!  Park Side Credit Union and Montana Childrens have sponsored the festivities in years past, but both organizations have indicated that they won't be hosting the kids' costume contest, trunk-or-treat or any other organized activities this year.

So ... tell us what you're doing.  Or not doing
     With no one stepping-up to run the show, it's apparently going to be up to our individual businesses to decide what (if anything) they'll be doing on Halloween.  We'll promote whatever it is that the business community decides to do ... but we can't make that call without your input.

     So ...  email and let us know what your business is planning to do on Oct. 31.  We'll compile the results and let you know in next week's Chamber Update!

City plans 'virtual' costume contest
     For instance ... the Whitefish Parks & Rec Department is staging a "Virtual Costume Contest" for kids from 0-12 years of age, and awarding prizes for the scariest, most original and cutest costumes.

     Just post your photos on the Whitefish Parks & Recreation Facebook Page -- or on Instagram @WF_Parks_Recreation -- by Halloween night, and check back on Monday Nov. 2 to see the winners!
$750k available for innovative programs & projects
New grant program designed to
boost tourism in post-COVID era

     The Montana Commerce Department has created a new grant program designed to spur visitation to Montana in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.  The Tourism Grant Program will fund projects that strengthen Montana's economy through the development and enhancement of Montana's tourism and recreation industry. A total of $750,000 is available for projects that have the potential to increase non-resident visitation.

     "Montanans in the tourism and recreation industries are finding innovative ways to adapt to the ever-changing realities of the global COVID-19 pandemic," said Commerce Director Tara Rice. "The Department of Commerce looks forward to supporting tourism and recreation projects as we recognize that while so many aspects of our daily lives have changed, one thing remains truer than ever: Montana is the best place to live, work and play."

     Projects funded in the 2021 cycle must be completed by June of 2022. Entities in Montana that are eligible to apply for a Tourism Grant include registered non-profit 501(c) organizations and city, tribal or county governments. Funds will be awarded to tourism and recreation projects that fall within the categories of:
  • Arts/Culture /Heritage Preservation: projects that preserve, protect, or restore Montana's arts, culture, and/or heritage treasures
  • Visitor Facility Upgrades/Construction: projects that will enhance the non-resident visitor experience and increase expenditures
  • Niche Product Development: projects of interest to non-resident visitors as identified in Montana Destination Brand Research Study
     The Tourism Grant Program is funded by the Lodging Facility Use Tax. CLICK HERE to earn more about the program and apply for funding.