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Turlock Council allocates grants to draw in tourists
Vinofest, Brewfest fail to garner any funds
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Community Events and Activities Grant Requests

EVENT                                 REQUEST             SCORE

Stanislaus County Fair               $5,000                   95.1%

2017 Monsters Truck Spring Nationals   $3,500                   92.5%   

Tournament of Champions                $5,000                   91%

50th Assyrian State Convention         $5,000                   89%

2016 Monster truck Fall Nationals       $3,500                   88.5%

Children’s Book Fair                             $5,000                   88%

Bring on the Ruckus Car and Concert     $5,000                   84%

Central Valley Senior Showcase              $5,000                   83.5%

4th of July Parade                                  $4,000                   83.3%

Turlock 4th of July Fireworks                   $5,000                   83.1%

Assyrian Festival                                     $5,000                   82.6%

2016 Central Valley Vinofest               $3,000                   80.6%

2017 Central Valley Brewfest              $5,000                   66%       




The Turlock City Council approved a bevy of grants for several special events that have the potential to draw in visitors to Turlock, but left out two that are alcohol-themed and promised an alternative funding option for the annual fireworks show.

In total, 11 organizations were requesting a total of $59,000 in grants from the Community Events and Activities Program, but only $46,000 was available. The grants come from the transient occupancy tax that hotel guests pay when they stay in Turlock.

“It’s a shame we don’t have the funds to give to all these great events,” said Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth.

The City Council awarded grants for 10 special events —Bring on the Ruckus Car and Concert 2017, Fourth of July Parade, Children’s Book Fair, 2017 Monster Truck Spring Nationals, 2017 Monster Truck Fall Nationals, 50th Assyrian State Convention, Central Valley Senior Showcase, Assyrian Festival, Tournament of Champions and Stanislaus County Fair.


The City Council opted to not give any grants to the 2016 Central Valley Vinofest and the 2017 Central Valley Brewfest. They also decided to remove the Turlock Chamber of Commerce’s request for a $5,000 grant for the Turlock Fourth of July firework show, opting instead to find an alternative funding option for the event.


The motion to award the grants was passed 4-0 by the City Council. Councilmember Matthew Jacob was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.


“We’re so heavily involved in this event as a city that it’s time we stepped up to the plate and say we are going to give X amount of dollars for X amount of years,” Soiseth said of the fireworks show, which will be held at Stanislaus State.


The organizations seeking the grants had to present their pitches and data to the Parks, Arts, and Recreation Commission earlier this month. The Commissioners scored each organization’s event on a scale from zero to 100, and tallied up a score that took into account the event’s potential to promote and support tourism and boost the overall economy.


The Stanislaus County Fair received the highest cumulative average with a score of 95.1 percent and the 2017 Central Valley Brewfest had the lowest average with 66 percent. The minimum standard for an event to be considered for funding is 69 percent, said Turlock Parks, Recreation and Facilities Manager Eric Schultz.


Having the Commissioners score the events to determine funding priority is a relatively new concept that Turlock adopted just last year. Previously the transient occupancy tax was allocated by the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau to the various entities requesting funds, but last year the City Council appointed the Parks, Arts, and Recreation Commission to appraise the requests and pass on their recommendations, with the City Council making the final decisions. The Commission doled out grants twice last year because after the initial awards some money remained, but this fiscal year there is not expected to be any additional funding.


Councilmember Steven Nascimento raised a point that not weighting the scores by throwing out the highest and lowest has an unexpected consequence, as was the case for the 2017 Central Valley Brewfest. Each Commissioner gave each event a score of 0 to 10 on varying factors, from the economic impact of the event to management capability of the organization. While the Brewfest had a couple of high scores and a couple mid-range, it also was given an 18 out of 100 from Commissioner Larry Yeakel, creating a cumulative average of 66 percent and making it ineligible for the grants.


“This might be a flaw in the process that we didn’t see beforehand,” Nascimento said.