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2007 Gauley Festival Economic Impact Study

Posted: 05/06/2008
by Carla Miner

Gauley Festival has been held since 1983 and tens of thousands of whitewater boaters have attended at least once. The Gauley Festival is American Whitewater's largest fund raiser. The festival includes three days of boating, music, camping, auctions, gear sales, film showings, paddling clinics, and all-around fun. It is arguably the largest and most renowned river festival in the United States. In 2007, over 3500 attended the party.

 

Although it is evident that thousands of people are importing dollars into the local Summersville, WV economy, no one has ever measured how much.  Until now, it hasn't been fully understood how the festival contributes to local economy through the purchase of goods and services, by supporting jobs, and the degree to which those imported dollars stay in the local economy and for how long.

 

Here some highlights from the newly released economic impact study of Gauley Festival:

 

The average Gauley Festival attendee is 36 years old, has completed a 4 year undergraduate education, and is male. Boater households earning $45,000 - $60,000 make up the largest income group at 17.3% of survey respondents. However, over 22% of boater households earn over $100,000 annually. A majority of all boater households (52%) earn over $60,000 annually.

 

Gauley Festival participants are loyal paddlers. They go boating on average 57 times per year. Approximately 11 of those trips involve overnight stays.

 

They travel an average of 4 hours for a boating trip, the Gauley Festival drew participants from as far away as the pacific coast states.

 

Total direct spending in the local economy generated by the Gauley Festival in 2007 was $1,110,870.

 

The Gauley Festival is responsible for generating $858,000 of economic activity, producing $281,000 in wages to local employees and business owners, and supporting 19 jobs.

 

Keep in mind that the festival is one weekend. There are five other weekends of Gauley River releases that are beyond the scope of this survey making the total contribution of the Gauley River to the local economy much higher than just Gauley Festival.

American Whitewater
Mark Singleton
PO Box 1540
Cullowhee, NC 28723
Phone: 828-586-1930
Fax: 828-586-2840


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