An economic boost

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From what we could determine over the weekend, especially Saturday, the 17th-annual East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships had a significant influence on Washington’s economy.

Parking lots at area lodging establishments were nearly full, indicating full or nearly full motels, hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments. Downtown restaurants, particularly Saturday, were filled with customers during prime dining hours. The line of people inside Bill’s Hot Dogs during the lunch rush was formidable. Some shops and art galleries saw a steady flow of traffic. The people in those places included festival visitors, festival exhibitors, carvers and callers.

In 2006, a study estimated expenditures at the 2006 festival by visitors, competitors, exhibitors and the public was estimated at $163,000. With the festival growing since 2006, those expenditures have grown with the festival, with some tourism officials indicating that impact is now around the $300,000 range.

Aside from the revenue the festival generates, it also generates good will and publicity for the city. Those are benefits it’s hard to put a price tag on.