'Festivals have been carrying us': Tourism officials in Raleigh prepare for busy fall season

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Thursday, September 8, 2022
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The Hopscotch Music Festival is returning to Downtown Raleigh in days with 450 bands expected to perform before thousands of people.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Hopscotch Music Festival is returning to Downtown Raleigh in days with 450 bands expected to perform before thousands of people. The music festival part of a string of gatherings helping the city this fall.

"IBMA (Bluegrass) is probably my favorite, followed right behind the State Fair of course," Raleigh resident K.J. Stancil said.

He already has a list of a events he's planning to attend this fall and is excited to see Fayetteville Street alive again after a rocky few years.

"I hope with the amount of growth in the city, inside and outside the beltline, that it brings back a lot of the nightlife scene, and everything else that comes with it (for) all the small businesses. It's a vital part of our community," said Stancil.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau says overall visitation in Wake County is almost back to pre-pandemic levels and tax collections are up.

The latest data for hotel occupancy rates shows it was 69 percent in July, which is up 8 percent from the month prior and roughly 23 percent from a year ago.

"Festivals have been carrying us. Dreamville back in the spring was extremely strong," GRCVS vice President Loren Gold said.

That particular weekend-long event brought in more than 6 million dollars to the economy and officials are preparing for more money to roll in.

People are being encouraged to "Jump back in to Raleigh."

Bluegrass and La Fiesta del Pueblo are among the festivals taking place this September; and the North Carolina State Fair will be drawing thousands of people to the Capital City.

Football games and other sporting events also will be propping up the economy.

"I look at my peers in other major cities, I think we're doing much better than some," said Gold.

There are some areas of tourism officials are hoping will soon bounce back. Business and international travel are still down nationwide by the double-digits.