CHIPLEY — The details of the first “Day Trip” tours from Panama City to Washington and Jackson County have been released, and the long-anticipated program is set to begin in February.
The Washington County Tourist Development Council heard the details of the historic and nature tours offered jointly by the Jackson County and Washington County TDCs during Monday’s meeting at the Washington County Chamber of Commerce building in Chipley.
“The tours will start on Feb. 4 with a trip to Jackson County,” TDC executive assistant Heather Lopez told the council members. The first trips to Washington County will include visits to Falling Waters State Park, the Washington County Historical Museum, lunch in Chipley, a visit to Three Oaks Winery and a stop at Moss Hill Church in Vernon.
Member Elizabeth Henderson suggested the TDC’s official news release mention that Washington County businesses that wanted to be part of the day trips should contact the TDC.
“These are definitely trial runs, we just wanted to get the program going,” Lopez said.
TDC member Ted Everett said that he could see other businesses, seeing that the winery is on the tour, wanting to know why they weren’t involved in the day trip program.
“We were looking for events that were free or low cost,” TDC member Scott Sweeney said. The itinerary of the tours can always be modified, but the idea was to keep the tour low cost — tourists will pay $35 to take the tours of Washington and Jackson County.
“If we add too many things, it can wind up costing like a trip to Disney World,” Sweeney said. “We don’t want that.”
The TDC bid farewell to one of their longtime members Monday as Jim Town was feted for his eight-plus years of service to the council.
“Jim, you have single handedly brought this council to the level that it is,” said Everett. “You gave us a good set of basics, good bylaws, good procedures and a budget that we can look at and understand.”
“I enjoyed working with you all, and I just wish I could leave you with rising revenues,” Town said. Although Town said he plans to travel the world in the coming days, he noted that he wouldn’t be too far away for the most part. “The house is going to stay where it is,” he said.
The council approved a grant request from the Orange & Bluegrass Festival for $2,000. The bluegrass festival is sponsored by the Vernon Athletic Boosters and will be held on April 5 and 6 near Vernon.
They also approved a grant request from the North Bay Clan of the Lower Muscogee Creek for $700 to advertise the Veterans Day Pow Wow, to be held Nov. 8, 9 and 10 south of Chipley.
The council will also submit the names of Dana Phillips and Mark Hess to the Board of County Commissioners for approval as members of the TDC. The BOCC is expected to vote on the nominations on Feb. 28.