Serious fun: MAIN ST. festival packs $33 million punch

Don’t judge MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival (MAIN ST.) by its good looks alone—downtown’s main event is an economic engine that generated $33 million in overall dollars in 2009, even in the depths of recession.

A study conducted by Birchhill Enterprises for festival producer Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc. shows the four-day MAIN ST. festival, which celebrates its 25th year in April, injects millions daily into local coffers, according to Richard Ruddell, president of The T and chairman of the Festivals and Events Committee for Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc.

“MAIN ST. pours more than $5 million to $8 million a day into the local economy, whether in overall spending and impact or total dollars generated. That adds up to some serious fun,” Ruddell said.

A snapshot of the festival’s economic benefits shows:

· Overall dollars generated by the festival in 2009 were more than $33 million, over $8 million daily.

· Direct and indirect impact of the festival in 2009 grew by 20% compared to 2006 ($21,778,023 and $18,121,632 respectively) and was more than $5 million daily.

· Visitors spending onsite grew by 14.5%, rising from $1,190,329 in 2006 to $1,363,444 in 2009.

· Visitors spending in the region of the festival grew by 38.4% from $2,284,921 in 2006 to $3,163,761 in 2009.

· Visitors’ length of stay in the area grew by 19% in 2009 from 2006 (71.28 to 59.76 hours respectively).

Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. surveys crowds every three years to gauge economic impact as well as guest satisfaction, patron spending and other facets of the nationally ranked show.

To say MAIN ST. is a crowd-pleaser would be an understatement. Exit surveys at last year’s festival found that all respondents—100% of those surveyed–would recommend the event to friends, and 95.8% rated MAIN ST. good or excellent.

These high marks join a growing list of bests and firsts for MAIN ST., one of the most honored shows in its class. MAIN ST. is ranked among the top festivals nationwide by Art Fair SourceBook, the bible of the art show world, and has been selected one of the American Bus Association’s Top 100 Events in North Americafor group travel in 2010.

MAIN ST. won back-to-back International Festivals & Events Association’s (IFEA) Grand Pinnacle Awards in its class in 2008 and 2009 and swept the 2009 Texas Festivals and Events Association awards, receiving the Zenith—or best event honors—in its category as well as a glittering collection of gold and silver awards.

MAIN ST. packs downtown Fort Worth each spring with a celebration of fine arts and crafts, music, film and food stretching from the Tarrant County Courthouse to the Fort Worth Convention Center. More than 200 juried artists and fine crafts exhibitors line brick-paved Main Street, joined by musicians and dancers on three stages. Performance artists and food and drink vendors complete the scene.

MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival is presented by Coors Light and produced by Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc. Festival hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, April 8; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 9-10; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, April 11. Admission is free to the public. For more information, visit MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival online. For information on downtown Fort Worth and its events, please visit Downtown Fort Worth, Inc.

Media should contact Diane Wolfe at metro 817-577-1779 [email protected].

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