4th Fest Gives Boost to State College Economy
Local business experts say community events, such as the annual 4th Fest, give a boost to the State College area economy.
Lesley Kistner, communications director with the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County, says recreational opportunities and sporting or cultural events both have desirable direct and indirect economic impacts. That includes the annual 4th Fest held on Independence Day, with various elements, such as a 4k race, parade, children's activities, vendors and live music performances before a fireworks display.
"The obvious impact of course being the dollars generated by visitors to the area, as well as by local residents," says Kistner. "The indirect benefit is that they add to the overall attractiveness of the region, which is one of many factors that potentially come into consideration when recruiting business and talent to the area – the quality of life factor."
George Arnold, executive director of the Downtown Improvement District, says community festivals traditionally help the local economy.
"Any time there's a family event in town like this that draws people to the area it has a positive impact to the downtown and the surrounding area," he says.
Specifically, Arnold says the Parade of Heroes, which moves through the downtown area, can benefit businesses in the borough.
"It certainly brings people downtown and whenever people are downtown there's certainly a good likelihood they'll pop into a store and do some shopping or grab a bite to eat," says Arnold.
Kistner says Centre County is fortunate to be home to several events that draw tens of thousands of visitors. Between 60,000 and 80,000 people are expected to attend the 4th Fest.
"The festival's longevity and its reputation as one of the world's best fireworks displays make it a premier Centre County festival, and as such, it has the ability to provide an important annual boost to the economy," says Kistner.
An added economic benefit is the timing of July 4, which will fall on a Friday this year.
"It provides a convenient opportunity for visitors to extend their stay for the full weekend and take advantage of the great shopping, dining and other local attractions in the area," says Kistner. "The local economy should see an uptick over the holiday weekend as a result."
For details about the 4th Fest, click HERE.