The city of Canton recently appointed seven new members to the Canton Convention & Visitors Bureau board.

The new board members are: Cooking Diva owner April Hood, Two Rivers Restaurant manager Cheyenne Stewart, Bumpers Drive-In owner Sunny Sethi, Andrew Jenkins, Mary Johnson, John Woodard and Annie Pearl Smith.

Hood, Stewart, Jenkins and Sethi are 2-year appointments, while Johnson Woodard and Smith are serving one-year stints.

The new board assumed their positions on Aug. 22, and the first meeting was last week.

Program Director Jana Dear said Friday she found the meeting extremely constructive.
“I presented my program of work and our budget for the next fiscal year and they approved it,” Dear reported. “It was really a great meeting and it gave me an opportunity to present to the new members what we do and how we do it.”

The board, which meets monthly, will now govern Dear and her staff. They are responsible for organizing tourism-driven events such as the bi-annual Canton Flea Market, the Balloon Festival and Christmas on the Square holiday event.

The two Flea Market dates alone generate more than $200,000 annually for the city.

The tourism board is funded through a special sales tax on restaurants and hotels in the city. The latest budget the new board approved is estimated to come in at $600,000.

Most of the board members were out of term, but Canton Mayor William Truly replaced the others, saying at a meeting of the city’s board of alderman last month that he thought the bureau was “in need of new direction.”