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Not Just a Party: How Festivals & Events Impact the Community

A lot of people think our organization just plans festivals, but that's far from the truth. Though these events are the first impression a lot f people get of the downtown, their purpose lies deeper than providing a fun afternoon.

On average, the events held in West Allis Downtown bring 20,000 people to the area annually. The West Allis A La Carte and the Downtown West Allis Classic Car Show combined brought over 5,000 visitors from outside of Milwaukee County. The more out of town visitors an event brings in, the more new potential customers for our businesses in the Downtown or who are vending at the event. Out of town visitors also have a higher chance of spending the night at one of our hotels, increasing the amount of room tax dollars coming in to be used to promote more tourism to the city.

Thanks to Errin Welty and Adriana Saia from the Wisconsin Main Street Program, we were able to get a comprehensive report on specifically how our 2019 Downtown West Allis Classic Car Show impacted the community. The report outlined where people came from, how old they they found out about the event, and how much money they spent during the day.

60% of the people who attended this year's show spent less than $25 at the event; where as guests between the ages of 36 and 45 spent larger amounts of money at the show. The average amount of money spent by an attendee of the Classic Car Show on October 6th, 2019 was $18.63. This might seem like a small number, but this year's show brought approximately 5,000 visitors to the area. That means, if each visitor spend $18.63, that one 5 hour event resulted in over $81,000 of direct spending in the downtown.

These events aren't just about the money. They offer a platform for businesses and organizations to get to know their customers and give back to the community. Every year, the West Allis Auto Club organizes a free Hot Wheels race for kids that attend the Classic Car Show to help encourage the next generation of car enthusiasts. Veterans groups sell poppies and forget me nots to raise funds for local veterans projects. The Alley Rats Car Club hosted a clothing drive for the homeless shelters in our community.

All in all, these events and festivals embody the idea of spending your money closer so your community can go further. They are filled with businesses, groups, and attendees who are supporting the area that support them, and they make our downtown one of a kind.

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