Tourism

Manatee Tourist Development Council recommends $50,000 for It Works! event

It Works! has its headquarters in Palmetto. 
 FILE PHOTO by GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

Palmetto-based It Works! will host its Green Carpet event in Bradenton this summer. The Tourist Development Council recommended $50,000 in funding for the event. GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald
It Works! has its headquarters in Palmetto. FILE PHOTO by GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald Palmetto-based It Works! will host its Green Carpet event in Bradenton this summer. The Tourist Development Council recommended $50,000 in funding for the event. GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald gjefferies@bradenton.com

MANATEE -- With the promise of 20,000 global attendees, the Manatee County Tourist Development Council is recommending a $50,000 sponsorship for the It Works! Green Carpet event this summer in Bradenton.

The sponsorship will provide the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau with an array of marketing throughout the average five-night stay of attendees to the convention. From July 11-16, visitors will have the chance to participate in several special events planned specifically for them.

Some of the activities -- such as the July 13 downtown live music and food truck event, and a riverside laser light show the evening of July 15 -- also will be open to the public.

"The islands do well in July and August, but we really need to focus on bringing new dollars in to the mainland part of the county," said Elliott Falcione, executive director of the bureau. "This is a rare and unique opportunity to do so." The bureau will have banners at McKechnie Field, a designated suite and up to 25 comp tickets for

tourism-related clients at the Friday night concert, as well as "sponsored by Bradenton Area CVB" on other event materials.

The recommendation goes next to the Manatee County Commissioners for approval.

The It Works! website advertises the green carpet event as a chance to plan "an adventure you'll never forget." Other planned events include a Bradenton Marauders game, a kickball tournament and a cattlemen's hoedown hosted by the Manatee County Cattlemen's Association.

"We picked this area for our global headquarters because it is a destination location," Mark Pentecost, CEO of It Works!, said in an email. "It embodies our lifestyle motto of 'Friendships, Fun, and Freedom.' The area and what it has to offer has become part of the It Works! culture."

Manatee County Commissioner and council chairwoman Carol Whitmore asked if the area has enough hotel rooms to support a 20,000-plus person event. Dale Sconyers, general manager of Holiday Inn and Fairfield Inn hotels in Lakewood Ranch, assured Whitmore of the area's accommodations.

"There's a lot of rooms online right now," Sconyers said.

Falcione noted the number of existing hotel rooms in Manatee and what they're expecting in the future. While the market may be asking for more rooms, Falcione said he is careful to look out for the hoteliers already doing business here.

"I'm not doing a thing to get more hotels," Falcione said. "There are 600 rooms coming in the next three years. We see communities where there are a lot more hotels being built and there's too much saturation, and it's hurting the hoteliers in those communities."

Janelle O'Dea, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095 or follow her on Twitter @jayohday.

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