CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The return of the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta is being seen as an outstanding success, with the event bringing in $31.5 million to Charleston, and businesses have seen a significant increase in revenue.
This is the city’s largest economic impact from an event in at least a decade.
According to the Charleston Regatta Commission and the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, an estimated 210,000 people came to the event and approximately 5,978 jobs were directly supported by the event.
Many businesses ran out of food and other products during the 2022 Regatta because it exceeded their expectations.
From cannabis to a barbecue chicken sandwich, businesses saw themselves making up to 50% more revenue.
Purple Leaf says many of their products were flying off the shelves and Dem 2 Brothers ran out of food twice.
“We doubled the amount of meat in the Regatta time that we sell in a normal week in our business. So, I would say about four to six thousand pounds of meat at least,” says Ashley Wright, General Manager for Dem 2 Brothers.
“We made about 50% more revenue than we had made at any other event period, and that was a big shocker,” says Emily Elder with Purple Leaf.
Both businesses say they will need to buy or make more products with how well the Regatta did in 2022.
Plans for next year’s Charleston Sternwheel Regatta are already underway.
Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin says they have already held a meeting looking ahead to 2023 and even 2024.
“We went to all of the food vendors before the end of the day yesterday and said ‘what do you think about next year,’ and they said, ‘we want the same spot, same location and we’ll be back.’ That is music to our ears,” Goodwin said, adding that many of the vendors quickly sold out of food and had to bring in more.
The 2022 Charleston Sternwheel Regatta saw many events, including a Weiner Dog race, a carnival, food vendors, a craft beer festival and more!
Musical guests included Everclear, Fastball & The Nixons, The Four Tops, The Spinners, The Unit, Martina McBridge, Chucky Ray Lilly with The Grip, Rick Springfield, and Hair Supply. The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and fireworks closed out the successful 2022 Sternwheel Regatta.