Administration Director Hooper McCann briefed the Town Council last week on the July 13 Wine & Food Festival, which, she said, drew a crowd of 1,170.
Of the 227 attendees who were interviewed as they passed through the front gate, 182 were from Virginia and the rest were from states up and down the East Coast and from as far away as Wyoming in the U.S. and Brazil internationally. McCann said that 15 percent of attendees who weren’t from Loudoun stayed the night and that most of the attendees heard about the event from friends and family.
Councilman Ryan Cool noted that Fox 5’s Zip Trip to the town on July 12 “saved the day in some way,” since the town had sold only 166 tickets to the festival less than a week before.
McCann said the town generated $44,382 in revenue from the festival, but also racked up $51,640 in expenses, not including indirect expenses. To that, Vice Mayor Tip Stinnette suggested the staff consider the indirect revenue from the event, such as attendees eating at restaurants and paying the town’s 5 percent meals tax. “The argument that we lost [money] on the event is a specious and incomplete argument,” he said.
McCann agreed and said she heard from a town restaurant that it was “extremely busy” after the festival ended. “We’re very excited about the exposure for the town,” she said.
According to a post-event survey that the town sent to festival attendees who purchased tickets online, 71 percent said it was their first time at the festival, 66 percent said they’d go again, 60 percent said they would recommend the event to friends and less than half said the admission price was reasonable. McCann noted that only 26 percent of respondents said the festival featured enough beer vendors. There were three on hand. “Evidently we need to rethink the number of beer vendors,” she said.
McCann said that staff members would provide the Town Council with a more comprehensive report on the festival in late September or early October once they finish collecting data.
“All things considered, it was a very enjoyable day,” she said. “I think it was a positive event.”