Clay County’s Tourism Department reveals list of event ideas to attract visitors

Debra Fine

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Clay County's reveals wish list of events to boost tourismClay County Tourism Department

The Clay County Tourism Department has revealed a wish list of events that could bring more visitors to the county, including sporting events and more festivals.

The information was presented during a Tourism Development Council meeting last week.

Preliminary ideas on the department’s list includes an outdoor adventure park, an outdoor concert venue, a southern rock festival and a waterfront entertainment district. Currently, the department is “in talks” to bring several sporting events and competitions to Clay County.

The list includes:

  • A dance competition, possibly at Thrasher-Horne Center in 2023.
  • Kick It 3v3 Soccer (2022-2023)
  • A Teqball competition (2023). Teqball is a mix of ping-pong and soccer. It is already in the running to become a sport in the 2028 Olympics.
  • Youth lacrosse events (2022-2023). Clay has already had several youth lacrosse events in previous years.
  • USA Archery (2023)
  • Spike Ball (2023), specifically youth and collegiate championships.
  • SuperX (2023)
  • Pro Watercross (2023)
  • Rallycross (2022)
  • Major League Quidditch (2023-24). Quidditch is a sport that was introduced in the popular Harry Potter books.
  • Sunshine State Sports Conference (2023-24)

According to Kimberly Morgan, Clay County’s director of Tourism and Film Development, the county has a contract with Airstream Ventures to advance their sports tourism initiative and is responsible for many of the groups that the county is “in talks” with for upcoming sporting events. Each event has its own event organizer. Airstream Ventures connects them to the Clay County Tourism Department and local businesses.

Morgan says Clay County also contracted CSL, a marketing group, to conduct a Tourism Strategic Plan focusing on two key areas: 1) Tourism Department Operations, and 2) Destination Management (what does Clay County have or need to be successful in Tourism and how does that happen?).

The strategic plan focused on researching current industry trends in the convention, sports, and leisure industries. CSL also did research on demographic, socioeconomic and spending in the county. More than 500 Clay residents and more than 40 stakeholders were also interviewed.

This strategic plan will give the county and the Tourism Department a five-year roadmap for tourism development.

The tourism department is also hoping several family-friendly events will attract visitors to the county.

The 40th anniversary of the Orange Park Fall Fest will be held Oct. 15-16. The Fall Fest has a projected economic impact of $2 million with about 45,000 people expected to attend. This year’s theme is a throwback to the 1980s.

The Clay County Agricultural Fair also brings thousands of people to the county. This year the city of Green Cove Springs is planning for additional parking, and a way to improve the traffic flow.

There is also the Memorial Day Riverfest, which is held at Spring Park in Green Cove Springs. It features food and craft vendors, live performances by the river, and a fireworks show.

For more information on events in Clay County, visit www.exploreclay.com.

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