Organizations Expect Big Benefits From East West Riverfest - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Organizations Expect Big Benefits From East West Riverfest

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     The second annual East West Riverfest started Friday. It's 17 days of celebrating the arts, culture and Quad City heritage with things like poetry readings, a writing seminar, dance performances, and art gallery exhibits. 
     More than 60 organizations bring together almost 400 events over the next two and a half weeks. It's expansion over the inaugural celebration in 2012 which tourism officials say was a success.
     "Generally speaking attendance was up about 10 percent across the board by our attractions and events last year," said Joe Taylor, President/CEO of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau.
     Hotels noted a 16% increase in occupancy during the week and a half celebration in 2012 meaning visitors are traveling to the area from far enough away to stay a night or two. Lynda and Doug Porter from upstate New York were stopping to take in a few of the events before heading West this weekend.
     "We're going to pack in as much as we can. We're going to see what's going on tonight and probably tomorrow morning," they said.
      After already having the couple as visitors, Quad City Arts Executive Director Carmen Darland expects it to be another good year.  "Last year during the same time period when we had an opening we doubled our attendance. That's why we're excited about East West Riverfest. We know it works."
    It's the same for the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra preparing for Saturday's music of Michael Jackson performance. Last year's Riverfront Pops Concert was the best sales in about a decade for the organization and officials say it's thanks in part to East West Riverfest getting the word out.
     "Smaller organizations to kind of pool their resources and really make an impact on out of town markets and here in town too," said Jared Johnson, Director of Marketing for the Q.C. Symphony Orchestra.
     With a lot of marketing done to areas up to 150 miles away, activity on the website is to date 63% coming from outside the Quad Cities.     
     East West Riverfest runs through September 22nd and many participating organizations have event guides. Or CLICK HERE for more event information.