Tourism in Grays Harbor County brings

in more than $260 million in local revenue

ELMA, WA –  August 15, 2017 – The Grays Harbor County Department of Tourism is now accepting applications for a new grant program for “Major Tourism Attraction Grants.”

The grant program and it’s deadline:

Grant applications must be received by the Grays Harbor Tourism office no later than Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 at 5:00 pm for the 2018 Grant Cycle.

Applications for this grant category include major festivals, events and planned activities/services that benefit the tourism industry in Grays Harbor County. Successful applicants of this grant category must show that the project will:

Create a significant tourism draw, or hospitality benefit, for a duration of five (5) days, or greater, within the 2018 calendar year and/or beyond.

    1. Bring in and/or support a significant number of visitors or attendees from outside a 50 mile radius; and will generate, or support overnight stays within Grays Harbor County for a period of five (5) days, or greater, within the 2018 calendar year and/or beyond.
    2. Have the potential to produce a total economic benefit to the Grays Harbor Community of greater than $50,000.

Under State law (RCW 67.28) Grays Harbor County receives funds from room taxes imposed on lodging facilities. These funds can be retained and utilized by the County for tourism promotional operations, or expended for projects and activities established by an eligible entity under State law.

Grays Harbor Tourism Major Tourism Project Grant Applications will be accepted from qualifying entities organizing tourism based events, activities and services within Grays Harbor County, except those that take place within municipalities that are allowed, by law, to collect and manage 3% lodging tax revenues generated within their own corporate limits, or those that do not pay into the County’s Lodging Tax system. It is preferred that grant funding be awarded to help promote tourism generating activities, events and services from October thru May, during shoulder and off-seasons, to generate overnight stays (heads in beds) and increase tourism activity within Grays Harbor County. However, this does not exclude new or existing festivals and events that take place during peak season.  Priority consideration may be given to shoulder and off-season activities.

“We are very fortunate that our County Commissioners have continued to support the funding of this and our two other Tourism Grant Programs. They understand that tourism is vital to Grays Harbor’s economic success,” said Kelly Peterson-Lalka, GH Tourism Public Relations/Office Manager. “Tourism results in more than $260 million of revenue and over 5,000 jobs for Grays Harbor County. When we support tourism, our local communities reap the rewards in tax revenue, jobs and community infrastructure. It is a win-win.”

Applications for grant funding are available from the Grays Harbor Tourism office. For more information, contact Kelly Peterson-Lalka at 360-482-2651 or




Grays Harbor County Fair: Five Fantastically Family Fun Features

The Grays Harbor County Fair is a highly anticipated event that brings in visitors near and far each year. Photo credit: Grays Harbor Tourism.

Grays Harbor County Fair: Five Fantastically Family Fun Features

Share on Facebook
Tweet on Twitter

Grab your family and get ready for some good old-fashion fun in the sun. Its Grays Harbor County Fair time, August 9 through 13, and that means you and your family are in for a great summer-time tradition. There’s plenty to do for kids of all ages at this year’s “Pig Tails & Country Trails” Grays Harbor County Fair, held at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds in Elma.

First, there are the midway games and the carnival rides. It’s always fun to go head to head with family members in the balloon pop or ring toss. Or, see who will be brave enough to take on the tilt-a-whirl and other thrilling rides. Winning a giant teddy bear playing the midway games is a welcome bonus.

Grays Harbor County Fair
The carnival rides and games are a highlight for many attendees.

Carnival ride wristbands are $27 during the fair, and include unlimited rides for the day of purchase. Carnival wristbands may be purchased at the Carnival Lot through the entire Fair and do not include Fair Admission.

Carnival Ride Hours: Noon to 10:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday; and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday

Best Amusement Bargain: Presale Discount Carnival Wristbands are available until August 7, 2017 at the Fairgrounds Office and the Montesano, Elma, and Aberdeen Anchor Bank branches. Presale wristbands are just $22, which is a $5 savings.

Second, there’s the fair fare—that is, the food that’s fun. You won’t be able to resist fair treats, like Shaved ice, cotton candy, elephant ears, hand dipped corn dogs, and deep-fried Twinkies. All kinds of treats unique and delicious food can be found. Of course, there are grilled onion burgers, fries, chicken, corn-on-the-cob, barbeque, fish and chips, Mexican and Asian foods and more. There is truly something for everyone. You’ll find concessions spread about the fairgrounds.

Best Bargain Bite: Curley fries are a family-friendly favorite and filling, too. Wash them down with an ice cold lemonade.

Third, there are all those cute animals. Piglets and calves and lambs and bunnies and… Well, the list goes on and on. Chat with the hard-working 4H and FFA kids showing their animals and learn what goes into their care. They may even let you pet a few!  Read more here:

Grayland Open Coming to Grays Harbor

On August 11 through 13, 2017,  just seven short miles from the City of Westport, the waves off of Grayland Beach will have more action than normal.  The Grayland Open will take place along this popular section of coast in Washington State. Above the crashing breakers and foamy surf, the best amateur Jet Ski free riders will be competing in round one of the US Nationals. The event isn’t just limited to US riders, as many of the top riders in the world will be competing right here in Grays Harbor.

grayland open jetskiThe Grayland Open was nothing more than a thought in the head of organizer Dan Lindgren ten years ago. A decade ago, Dan would invite people to experience Westport and enjoy the surf of the Washington Coast. As his personal event got increasingly popular, he talked to people at other events and decided to make an event happen locally. What started as a local contest, has grown every year since with the possibility of having 50 to 60 of the world’s best riders participating in this year’s event.

On the waves near Grayland State Park, the region is now home to one of the premiere Jet Ski competitions in the US, with daring riders performing aerial tricks on the turbulent waves of the Pacific Ocean.  The Grayland Open is one of four competitions at this level and one of the top surf and air competitions in the US. The other major events happen around in the United States in places like Daytona, Florida, Virginia Beach, Virginia and the Oregon Coast.

Attracting America’s best amateur Jet Ski riders for a free ride competition, the Grayland Open is sure to leave you mesmerized by the abilities of these riders. What originally started as a way to expand the exciting sport to his local community, the Grayland Open has evolved into watching the world’s best perform backflips, barrel rolls and numerous other great-named tricks before the judges and fans on the coast.

When asked why people should attend this year’s Grayland Open, organizer and participant Dan Lindgren stressed, “The goal is to open people’s eyes to the sport. Most people around the world would pay a lot to watch the best riders in the world compete, but the people of Grays Harbor have a chance to view world class competition for free.”

grayland open jet skiWith free admission to the 6th Annual Grayland Open, events like this are a treasure for Grays Harbor and should be seen by all. This year’s event has the highest level of talent in the country and will be well worth taking the time to witness it in person. All you have to do is get to the beach, pull up a chair, and break out the binoculars and camera to witness the very best of this fast-growing extreme sport unfold before your eyes.

He went on to explain that extreme sport lovers will thoroughly enjoy and be motivated to get involved in the sport after watching the event.  The Grayland Open is a great opportunity for both new riders or anyone curious, as every class of rider is welcome to participate, take classes and learn from the world’s best Jet ski riders.

The event lasts the entire weekend, but the best time to attend will be Sunday morning, starting at 10:00 a.m., when the final heats for the best riders will occur. The top four riders from Saturday’s heats will be participating in the semi-final and final heats, battling it out for a place on the podium. Once the finals are announced, riders invited by the judges are encouraged to participate in the ProJam, where the top five to eight riders perform for 15 minutes to show off their best tricks and wow the crowd. A winner is crowned king of the ProJam to end the event and an exciting weekend along the Washington Coast.

grayland open jet skiThe event is family friendly, as the riders typically bring their extended family along to turn the whole event into a Jet Ski community reunion. The Jet Ski community welcomes the public. Between races and during the event, access to all the riders is granted, with riders more than happy to answer questions about their sport, let you check out their skis (as they refer to the Jet Ski Machines) and explain how they perform such incredible tricks.

With plenty to do in neighboring Westport, taking a weekend trip out to the Grayland Open is something every Grays Harbor resident should take the time to do. Have a day at the beach and watch incredible extreme athletes perform the Jet Ski skills right from our own coast. Rally around the Grayland Open as a boost to the community and economy of the region.

All photos courtesy Grayland Open.