Sternwheel Regatta generates $31.5 million for Charleston
CHARLESTON, West Virginia (WSAZ) — Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin said she knows bringing the Sternwheel Regatta back would be a tall order.
“We all knew Regatta would definitely have a monumental impact,” she said at a press conference on Thursday.
What she didn’t expect was the full extent of her economic success.
City officials said the five-day event brought in $31.5 million for Charleston as well as 210,000 visitors.
Initially, Goodwin said organizers estimated the regatta would generate a minimum of $10 million.
She said several factors, including pleasant weather and nostalgia, contributed to the prosperity.
“There are a lot of things that play into an event and a successful event, especially an outdoor event. Mother Nature was kind,” she said. “I also think about the energy of bringing back Regatta, of yesteryear, remembering if it will be the same thing and the things that we remember about it.
Data from the Charleston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau showed that about 29% of regatta visitors were from out of state.
The top five states for foreign participants were Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
More than 15% of visitors traveled more than 500 miles to get to the regatta.
Fife Street Brewing was one of many businesses that benefited from Regatta’s presence in town.
The restaurant opened on Memorial Day weekend. Assistant manager Cody Fauber said the regatta sealed the bar as a Charleston staple.
“I think Regatta really helped us get our name out there because so many people stopped and so many people came,” he said. “We sold a lot of beer, so Regatta definitely helped.”
Goodwin said one thing she said helped organizers was knowing that families would gravitate to the event, for many years to come.
“When people are looking to create jobs in the city to see the energy and excitement that a local community brings with their events, that’s important,” the mayor said. “I can’t give you dollars and cents because it’s priceless.”
You can provide feedback on this year’s regatta by emailing: [email protected]
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