Our Local Economy
I always have the most difficult time writing this editorial after a week off. I thought about telling readers what I did during my summer vacation last week, but I came to the realization that I basically golfed every afternoon and fished before dusk. As a result, there was really nothing interesting to report.
So, I have decided to convey to the many friends and business associates who have inquired about how Festival in the Pines did this year. For those not familiar, my side job involves putting on a party for about 15,000 people the last weekend of August each year. The event features 225 arts and crafts exhibitors, food vendors, music and live entertainment, inflatable rides, a trout fishing pond, petting zoo, pony rides and a youth archery range. About 13 non-profit organizations are paid to perform various functions at the two-day festival, which gives me the ideal opportunity to support the community.
Despite the lackluster economy, I was fortunate enough to realize increased attendance at the 27th Annual Festival in the Pines
. Although the weather was unseasonably cool, windy and cloudy on Saturday, the diehard shoppers showed up in droves and outnumbered the attendance on Sunday - even though the weather was more pleasant on the second day.
I was able to witness first-hand where our local economy is at based on the fact that attendance was up about 1,500 from last year and guests stayed longer
. I also witnessed a lot of shoppers writing down the numbers of specific arts and crafts booths so they could order items at a later time before Christmas. In addition, I have received more e-mails from interested shoppers this year than ever before who wished to reconnect with a vendor from this year's festival so they can make a potential gift purchase.
I read a report this week that the Minnesota State Fair attracted record attendance of 1.8 million people, up from the record set in 2001 when they were 1.7 million visitors. As a result, I am convinced that people are staying closer to home and still trying to have fun at a reasonable cost. Since I was able to pay all of my bills this year and realize a small profit, I am committed to putting on the party again next year.
If you have not had the opportunity to attend Festival in the Pines, I can assure you that the excursion will be one of the highlights of your summer for family entertainment. Unless, of course, you mostly like to golf and fish like me.
CORRECTION: In my last editorial (Aug. 28, 2009) , I mistakenly reported that BOB-FM 99.9 is a satellite station. I apologize for the error since BOB-FM is produced locally.