AKA Conference, Dreamville among big events pumping millions into Raleigh's economy

Elaina Athans Image
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Big events pumping millions into Raleigh's economy
Tens of thousands of people are converging on the Capital City for big sporting events, live music and business conferences.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Greater Raleigh Tourism Department is riding high right now on a series of big money-making events. There was the Stadium Series last month at Carter-Finley Stadium, the AKA Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference is being held at the Raleigh Convention Center this weekend, and then the next crescendo with the Dreamville festival.

Tens of thousands of people are converging on the Capital City for the events.

They're offering a big boost to small businesses, especially with Dreamville.

"There's a lot of people coming from all over the country. Last year there were people from Canada, Mexico, Brazil," said Unorthodox Vintage co-owner Julian Jacobs.

The City of Raleigh increased how many people can attend the Dix Park party and is expecting 100,000 people during the two-day concert.

Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitor's Bureau Vice President Loren Gold said hotel availability vanished when Drake, Usher and J. Cole were announced as headlining acts.

"Some of our hotels sold out in two hours, rooms went quick," said Gold.

ABC11 checked a hotel website to see whether there was anything open next Saturday and Sunday. Everything is sold out in downtown Raleigh.

The closest place to Dix Park with available occupancy is in the Crabtree Valley Mall area and rooms there are going for $299 per night.

The Tourism Department said only 20% of attendees live locally and the other 80% are coming from out of town.

"It's an event that draws a lot of out-of-town guests, which we love because they frequent the restaurants and retail shops and spend money in the city," said Gold.

People are also spending this weekend.

"This is my first time at the regional conference so I am excited," said AKA member Niyah Sansbury, who is visiting Raleigh from Charlotte. "I might sightsee and I might get some food. Raleigh has good eats."

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is making history at the Raleigh Convention Center as it's hosting its 70th Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference.

Members are bonding in sisterhood and celebrating in the city.

"Really our intention is that we are pouring money back into the City of Raleigh. We have an impact of over $5 million," said AKA Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Nadine Vargas Stewart.

More than 5,000 people are in Raleigh for the AKA conference.