Chamber Awarded $150,000 In Tourism Grants

August 6, 2020

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce recently applied for, and was awarded, 2 Tourism Enhancement Grants making DeKalb County one of only two counties in the state of Tennessee to be approved for both applications totaling $150,000. The grants were awarded for The Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree renovation project and an interactive stage set for the DeKalb Community Theater.

“With the 50th Jamboree Anniversary Celebration coming next year, the timing couldn’t be better for a renovated stage. We will also be adding new handicap accessible ramps to assist our newest performers competing in our special needs categories for 2021,” said Chamber Director, Suzanne Williams. “In addition, the DeKalb Community Theater now will have the opportunity to produce plays, musicals, and band performances using pre-created or graphic designed artwork and backgrounds at the touch of a button helping to draw visitors from across the region, including thousands of Center Hill Lake tourists looking for things to do while spending time in DeKalb County. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to the State of Tennessee for providing DeKalb County this wonderful opportunity to enhance our tourism assets.”

The Chamber applied on behalf of the City of Smithville in the amount of $75,000 for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree to be used for a new custom stage and stage cover, backdrop, a handicap accessible on/off ramp, along with appropriate ADA compliant signage, and professional stage lighting.

In addition, the Chamber applied on behalf of DeKalb County in the amount of $75,000 for enhancements to the DeKalb County Complex Community Theater. With tourism growth in mind, the goal is for the DeKalb Community Theater to become a state-of-the-art, multi-media venue to encourage increased year-round tourism to our county through the arts, performances, and concerts with the addition of a ‘Green’ Cinema Environmental Screen and professional grade stage lighting and sound equipment. This new technology will reduce the performance costs of multiple, complicated stage sets, as well as being a timesaver allowing for additional plays to be produced throughout the year, while marketing to a much broader audience.

The Tourism Enhancement Grant becomes more competitive each year. This year, 69 applications were received, totaling requests of over $4.5 million. Fifty-two of the 69 applications were not awarded due to the Tourism Enhancement Grant budget being just over $1 Million. An advisory committee selected the 17 communities who are receiving grants.

The Chamber of Commerce urges the community to join in the excitement of the 50th anniversary of the Jamboree by volunteering to be a part of the ‘50th Jamboree Committee’. Volunteers will be asked to contribute their creative ideas, help with historical searches, contacting past champions, and use their personal talents and skills to help implement the new ideas and projects. If you would like to be a part of this special committee, please contact the Chamber or email:

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