Riverfest boosts Niles economy

Published 6:34 pm Thursday, August 2, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Niles businesses stock up whenever a big festival draws near. That's because business skyrockets for most, especially restaurants, who can double their business in just one weekend.
Riverfest is one of the many Niles events that improves sales for local businesses. With an estimated 15,000 visiting Riverfront Park during the festivities, the event not only helps out downtown businesses, but all of Niles as well.
"This is something that benefits everyone. Fast food restaurants, other sit down restaurants, it really benefits a lot of businesses just by having that many people in town," program manager of Niles Main Street, Lisa Croteau, said Thursday.
She added that even if people from out of town don't purchase anything, it's still a plus to have them here because it lets them discover our community.
Vendors at the French Market are excited for Riverfest and hope the weekend keeps them busy.
"This is my first Riverfest and I've been at the French Market for about four weeks now, so I'm pretty excited," Lindsay Wahl, owner Off The Wahl With Lindsay, said.
"I know we will see a lot more people during Riverfest, so I'm trying to make sure I have enough of my product for everyone."
Wahl will be selling her photography in frames, which includes up close shots of flowers and other nature portraits.
"I'm also a little worried about the heat. I'm trying to come up with ways to stay cool, but I know I'll have tons of water," she joked.
Lisa Withers of Withers Farms said she will be stocking up on peaches, since those seemed to be a hit last year.
"We didn't have a lot of people buying produce, obviously because they don't want it sitting in a hot car all day, but they did buy the fresh fruits, so we'll have extra of those," Withers said.
The French Market will continue today until 2 p.m. and will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Market food vendors will be located at the usual site, but Artisans will be inside Riverfest grounds in the Arts and Crafts Area.
Riverfest will kick off tonight with two performances by Elvis impersonator Chris Young at 6:30 and 8:30. The Mr. and Ms. Riverfest will take place at 7:30. Both events will take place at the Amphitheater. On Friday, Riverfest Opening ceremonies will take place at 6 p.m.