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Big events returning to help boost local economy: ‘It is great to see lines coming out of doors again’

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 7:37 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The pandemic took a big hit on our local economy and the major events we see every year in the CSRA. But now that things slowly get back to normal, those events are back. Even though some of the big ones like Border Bash and the mini Arts in the Heart are months away, local businesses hope they’ll see the impact soon.

Organizers are excited and proud of local businesses new and old for hanging on during the past year. They say their events are going to help share the wealth.

“So we want to make sure to continue as an arts organization to support our downtown because a thriving downtown will continue to help the arts community, a thriving arts community will continue to help the city,” said Rhian Swain, vice president of the executive board of the Arts Council.

It’s not Arts in the Heart, but it’s the next best thing. The Art City Festival is a scaled-down version partnering with downtown restaurants in a new way. With special menus to keep you in the festival and supporting local.

“Now these businesses that opened they took that leap of faith and have invested their money are now going to reap the benefits,” said Margaret Woodard, Executive Director Downtown Development Authority.

New and old businesses seeing the benefits from more downtown events.

“Things are happening that are making us feel really good about our community though and it’s getting our residents back out festivals, events,” said Bennish Brown, president and CEO of Destination Augusta.

The Downtown Development Authority said we were down 1 million visitors last year.

“We are certainly farther off this year than we were last year and our hope again is to keep on growing and maybe surpass just the good things we enjoyed about 2019,” said Brown.

Art City Festival expects around 80,000 people this year.

“It is great to see lines coming out of doors again for people who just hung on and really made it happen so we’re quite proud of our small businesses here,” said Woodard.

“And those small businesses really do make Augusta unique, it makes our downtown unique and this is where you feel the heart of our community,” said Brown.

It’s not just big events dozens of events are popping back up. You can find some more at Destination Augusta.

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