Tourism approves t-shirt purchase for 5K

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By Stephen Lega

Another 5K could be held in Lebanon next spring.
The Marion County Baseball Booster Club is planning to host the Turtle Run 5K on March 1, 2014. The name of the race is intended to play up Lebanon’s connection to the Turtleman, but also the contrast between turtle and run, according to Sam Bach of the booster club.
Bach presented a request for assistance to the Lebanon Tourist and Convention Commission during its Dec. 9 meeting.  She said the booster club held a 5K before a football game in the fall, but they wanted to try a different race in the spring.
“I would like to have the businesses downtown involved,” Bach said.
This includes holding a packet pick-up on Friday evening before the race, which she said could encourage people to eat downtown. After the race, Bach added that it would be nice if they could find a place for runners to change clothes.
“If you have somewhere to change, you’re more likely to stay,” she said.
Bach said they hope to have chip-timing for the race and a DJ to play music and make announcements. She added that the Pokey Pig has grown into a nice race for runners in the fall, and she thinks Lebanon could use another race in the spring.
She also said if there is any way they could get the Turtleman and Animal Planet involved in the race, then she knows it would be a bigger success.
Commission Chairman Brad Lanham said the community has hosted races before, and Commissioner David Winebrenner asked if the booster club might consider holding the race in the evening instead of the morning.
Bach said she would be open to either morning or evening.
She also presented a request for $3,000 and assistance in marketing the race. She added that they are planning to keep the entry fee for the race around $30 and they are estimating 250 runners, although they are hoping to attract more.
Winebrenner suggested holding a forum the night before the race with some of the more accomplished runners in the area.
The commission voted 4-0 to approve marketing for the race and $2,000 toward the cost of t-shirts, which they viewed as another way to market the community.  Commissioners Carlotta Brussell, James Spragens and Lisa Marie Williams were not present at the Dec. 9 meeting.

In other business:
- The commission discussed the possibility of purchasing a sound system for downtown Lebanon to play seasonal music and to make announcements about local attractions and events.
- Tourism Director Carla Wagner said the tourism industry is focusing on “foreign independent travelers,” who may spend several weeks on vacation in the United States and may make stops from Atlanta to Chicago during their time in the country.
- According to the Dec. 9 report, five businesses were listed as being three months behind on turning in their tourism taxes. They are Game Tyme, both Subway restaurants, Sandy’s Catering Service and Swan’s Landing Catering.