Panama City Beach - Friday is the last day for the "Fun for the Holidays" Christmas display at the old Miracle Strip lot in Panama City Beach. The massive million-dollar display and ice skating rink was set up with funds from BP to attract more tourists to the beaches.
A story this week in USA Today highlights some of the projects paid for with millions of dollars of BP funds. About 30 million dollars worth of BP money has been used by local TDC's to bring back tourists. The funds have helped make it a banner year with record numbers of visitors.
The USA Today report highlights some of the extravagant purchases that otherwise could not have been afforded. From an upcoming prom for senior citizens, to poker tournaments, giveaways, concerts, even a song specially created by Bangles singer Susanna Hoffs for South Walton. Tourism leaders were given the money from BP with stipulations on how it could be used to attract tourists, and much of the funds will dry up in the coming months.
Most of the money was used for temporary boosts to tourism, such as Panama City Beach's Christmas display and ice rink which closes Friday night.