FestiVELO was good for economy | News | The Press and Standard

by | November 18, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: November 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Walterboro Tourism Director Michelle Strickland said that you just had to look at the lodging numbers to recognize the economic impact of hosting FestiVELO.
“With our bed and breakfasts all completely booked, many of our hotels participating in special rates, and many people camping at our campsites, I estimate a minimum of 1,100 overnight stays,” Strickland said.
“That alone is a testament to the economic impact that this event had on Walterboro and Colleton County, not to mention the things we can’t quantify, like the money they spent in our restaurants, shops and gas stations,” she said.
FestiVELO Founder Charles Fox pointed out that visitors from 22 states came to Walterboro for the bicycling festival.
He said that some of those visitors might just put Walterboro and Colleton County on their list of possible future vacation locations because of the warm welcome and historical and cultural offerings.
“We all worked to put together a warm reception for our guests,” Strickland said.
In addition to the motels offering special rates to the group, downtown merchants participated in a hidden treasure promotion offering discounts and giveaways for FestiVELO, and individuals and organizations like CCHAPS assisted with special programming.
Sixteen downtown shops and restaurants participated in the Hidden Treasure promotion. It was a special promotion she organized, Strickland explained, “to entice our visitors to shop downtown.
“Of course the most important part was the Colleton County Museum and Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen which provided the venue. The kitchen was instrumental in that they were able to accommodate food deliveries from U.S. Foods and feed a crowd, a major selling point when we pitched the idea of the festival coming to Walterboro,” she added.
Guest speakers included Dr. Eran Kilpatrick, biologist and professor from USC Salkehatchie, who spoke about the ACE Basin Route, and Dr. Travis Folk of Folk Land Management, who spoke about rice culture and Colleton County plantations.
CCHAPS offered historic downtown walking tours and tours of the Bedon Lucas House and sent representatives to offer their plantation book, “The Plantations of St. Bartholomew’s Parish,” to FestiVELO patrons.

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