FLORIDA KEYS -- A first-ever Bogart Film Festival heads the list of Upper Keys events poised to receive Tourist Development Council marketing funds in the coming fiscal year.
Last week, the Key Largo District Advisory Council recommended that the event, scheduled for next May, receive $50,000 in county tourism funds.
The money would come out of bed taxes collected by Key Largo lodges.
The grant still has to be approved by the TDC itself at a September meeting and then by the Monroe County Commission in October. But TDC Director Herald Wheeler said those approvals are likely.
Russ Yagel, chairman of the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, which will present the festival, said last week that he is extremely pleased with the award.
"We really appreciate the support the DAC has given it," Yagel said. "There is an organic relationship between Key Largo and Humphrey Bogart."
The four-day film festival will feature screenings of Bogart films, of course, but that's not all, Yagel said.
Films of a specific theme -- next year "South Florida" -- will also be featured. A university film competition and screenings of winning movies from other festivals are also to be on offer.
Humphrey's son Stephen will make appearances throughout the festival.
The Bogart Film Festival is one of two Key Largo events to receive a $50,000 funding recommendation from the DAC for the 2012-13 fiscal year. The other is the Orange Bowl collegiate swim meet, which is held each holiday season at the Jacobs Aquatic Center.
Four other Key Largo events are also slated to receive TDC grants ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 next year. One of those events, the formerly named Key Largo Food Wine Festival, also received a funding recommendation from the Islamorada DAC.
The late July and early August event, to be renamed the Key Largo Islamorada Food Wine Festival, is positioned to receive $30,000 through Key Largo bed tax dollars and $20,000 through Islamorada bed taxes.
The Islamorada DAC also approved funding requests to help promote five other events.
Along with the food and wine fest, the biggest beneficiaries are slated to be the September 2013 Conch Scramble, an event that combines boating with golf, and the Florida Keys Island Fest, put on by the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce each April. The Islamorada DAC recommended that each event receive $20,000 of county funds.
The Marathon DAC last week supported the funding requests of seven events.
The two largest beneficiaries, at $50,000 each, are slated to be the Original Marathon Seafood Festival in March, and for the first time, the Heroes Welcome Tribute Weekend, put on in late summer each year by Hawk's Cay Resort.
The Heroes Welcome kicks off nearly three months of bargain room rates that the Duck Key resort offers to military, medical personnel and first responders.
The tribute weekend features a variety of events, including a concert, a 5K run, a fireworks show and a display of various first responder and law enforcement trucks.
Hawks Cay spokeswoman Jennifer Dinan said that this is the first time the resort has requested promotional funds for the Heroes Welcome.
"Not only does it drive tourism, but it also shows that we're an area that cares and gives back to the people who take care of us," Dinan said.
The DAC representing Big Pine and the Lower Keys last week approved funding requests for eight events.
If the recommendation is approved, the largest recipients, each receiving $15,000, would be the Big Pine and Lower Keys Island Art Festival in February and the Nautical Flea Market in January.