Fall festivals and events bring in millions of economic impact to the River Region

Friday, Oct. 4, 2019
News 12 at 11 O’Clock

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It's days like these that draw thousands to the South in the fall.

"The southern hospitality, the food, walking on the Riverwalk!" Lori Dematteo, a visitor said.

Lori Dematteo and her friends traveled all the way from New Jersey to Augusta and landed at the Westobou festival.

"Food, music, atmosphere," Dematteo said. "It's a very artsy feeling to it."

City officials say this festival alone draws in about 13,000 people with an economic impact of over one-million dollars.

Just two weeks ago, Arts in the heart brought 1.2 million. One week later, Ironman raked in 4.8 million.

"They have an over $42-million economic impact on our city every year.," Lindsay Fruchtl, the Vice President of Marketing at the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau said. "These people are coming in from out of town, staying in our hotels, Air BnB's, spending money at our restaurants, shopping and of course enjoying the events and festivals while they're here."

"Just the sheer volume and range of people," Jesse Cheesebrow, the Bar Manager at Fuse said. "It's people you would normally never see before downtown showing up."

Jesse Cheesebrow is the bar manager at Fuse on Broad Street. He's seen a boost just in the foot traffic and customers

"We ran out of food because we weren't expecting so many people ordering so many things," Cheesebrow said.

The last Ironman was the biggest one he's ever seen. With events continuing to grow and the local attracting the national, it's a sure sign of what's still to come.