NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - Thousands of Nacogdoches residents and visitors enjoyed the blueberry-theme weekend in historic downtown on June 12 and 13.
"The Friday night inaugural Blueberry Concert in the Park presented by Rex Perry Autoplex 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.
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: If using a 3x multiplier: $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.