Texas Blueberry Festival Generates $2 Million for Local Economy
It has been nearly a month since the 26th Annual Texas Blueberry Festival in Nacogdoches, but a recent recap shows it was another successful event with a great economic impact for the community.
According to a press release from the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce, the inaugural Friday night Blueberry Concert in the Park drew more than 500 people to Banita Creek Park and set the blueberry mood," said festival Chair Grace Handler. "Members of the festival and concert planning committees are thrilled that our hotels are approximately 70 percent booked and that typically, all of the 43 bed and breakfast rooms are full for the festival weekend."
The attendance numbers for the 26th Annual Texas Blueberry Festival presented by Brookshire Brothers came in at 17,500. "Although that number is slightly lower than past years' record counts, our vendors and event coordinators saw strong participation and sales," Handler said.
- Brookshire Brothers again was the official berry supplier for the festival, selling over 10,000 pounds (5 tons) of fresh-picked berries.
- The Kiwanis served 3,390 fresh blueberry pancakes.
- The Blueberry Place pick-your-own blueberry farm welcomed 'vanloads' of visitors again. Excited visitors picked 816 pounds of fresh berries. The big-volume season was expected to run through mid-July. The experience of seeing food in the field helped create great memories for hundreds of visitors. Roger and Sherrie Randall generously welcomed the crowds, who took photos and enjoyed the van rides provided by the Driving Jacks and Nacogdoches Rotary Club. The Garden Capital of Texas tours of Nacogdoches gardens hosted dozens of visitors and locals.
- Surveys showed 36.5 percent of visitors traveled more than 100 miles to the Saturday festival. In fact, more than 20 percent traveled more than 200 miles. This creates an influx of new money into our local economy. At the Friday bluegrass concert, 45 percent of the attendees came from outside Nacogdoches. About half of those spent the night. Close to 80 percent planned to attend the Saturday festival. Five percent had never been to Nacogdoches before.
For downtown business owner Rachel Underwood, Saturday's festival brought more new faces into Rachel's Antiques & Uniques. "Sales were good, and I was pleased with the steady flow," she said. "I opened at 8 a.m. and stayed busy throughout the day more so than last year. It was a successful day for me."
One large retailer located four miles north of the festival experienced a sales increase of 5 to 7 percent over a typical Saturday, according to the store manager. "Our customer count was up by 125 over last year. Our associates look forward to this weekend each year and enjoy serving the many customers that come shop with us while in for the blueberry festival," the manager said.
"There are so many that contribute their resources and time to make a lot of activities run smoothly," Handler said. "I have to thank our loyal sponsors, volunteers, businesses, all City of Nacogdoches departments, CVB, Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful, Expo Center and the County Sheriff’s office for another prosperous blueberry celebration."
The Texas Blueberry Festival is produced by the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce.
Texas Blueberry Festival 2015 Economic Impact
Total Attendance: 17,500
Out of town visitors: 6,388 (36.5 percent*)
Hotel occupancy: 50% attributed to festival (approx. 70% occupancy)
= using $99 per room; 632 of 903 rooms.
Direct Income generated at hotels/motels - 632 room nights- $62,568
Total Income generated from out-of-town festival visitors: $694,980
($108 x 6,435 - using just one day.)
Economic impact:: $2,084,940
*Note: A 2015 survey of 1,659 festival attendees found 36.5 percent traveled more than 100 miles. Over 20 percent travel more than 200 miles. More than 5 percent travel more than 400 miles.