Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Saturday's sold-out concert by Mumford & Sons and the annual Beach to Beacon road race could bring more than $2.4 million into Greater Portland's economy this weekend as concert-goers and runners scoop up everything from souvenir T-shirts to lobster dinners to hotel rooms.
Tasha Langelier, left, of Lewiston, sells BondiBands, colorful headgear that wicks moisture, as vendors hawk race related wares Thursday at Cape Elizabeth High School.
Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
As many as 16,000 people are expected to fill the Eastern Promenade to hear the Grammy-nominated British folk rockers Mumford & Sons and seven other bands.
Earlier Saturday in Cape Elizabeth, the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race is expected to draw 6,000 runners and 10,000 spectators.
With so many potential customers coming to the Eastern Prom, Bridget Colucci Jacobsky, co-owner of Colucci's Hilltop Market on Munjoy Hill, said, "I've been cooking for three days. I can't even imagine it -- there could be crowds all day and into the night."
A seven-hour concert is planned, finishing with Mumford & Sons.
"We're hoping we'll have a lot of sandwich and burger business," she said. "We hope that people will buy their food and enjoy it out on the grass on the Prom. We welcome them."
Colucci's will double its staff to 10 workers and bring in an extra cash register to keep the crowd moving, she said.
Even before the race and the concert, this weekend will get started with Portland's monthly First Friday Art Walk through galleries and museums. And two cruise ships, with about 100 passengers each, will dock Friday evening.
"It's a big weekend. It's the type of vibrancy and variety we want -- art, cruise ships, international concerts and world-class road races," said Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. "It's the convergence of almost perfect weather -- just the way we like it in Maine -- and activities that have a low impact on the city but a real boost economically."
Brennan plans to be out and about Friday night, along with the 2,500 to 3,000 people who spend as much as $70,000 on the art walk each month.
On Saturday, he'll hop on his bike to check out the concert. He said he didn't manage to get any of the $69 tickets before they sold out in 30 minutes.
Officials have estimated the total economic impact of this weekend's events using a rule of thumb: People who live within 50 miles and come into Portland for a special event spend $75 to $125 per person, per day. If they come from farther away, they can spend as much as $300 to $400 a day, said Barbara Whitten, president of the Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau.
So at the low-end, with 32,000 people spending $75 per person for one day, the economic impact would be $2.4 million. That number rises if people stay overnight in hotels and motels and spend more money throughout the weekend.
"It's hard to know how many are coming from around the world or around the corner, but we know these types of events have a significant impact," Whitten said.
Of the first 12,000 concert tickets, 3,000 were bought by Mainers and 9,000 were purchased outside the state, said Nicole Clegg, spokeswoman for the city of Portland. Tickets were bought as far away as Arizona, Texas and California, Clegg said.
Another 4,000 tickets were sold later.
"It's going to be like the Fourth of July, but it could be a different demographic, considering people are paying $70 a ticket," said Joe Fournier, the manager of Rosemont Market & Bakery on Congress Street. "We really have no idea what to expect. We'll be staffing more in case we need to be a little more nimble in changing our tack."
Hotel rooms will be hard to come by this weekend. The first two weekends of August are the busiest of the year, as summer visitors snatch up most available rooms in the area, said Greg Dugal, executive director of the Maine Innkeepers Association. With the addition of Mumford & Sons, available spaces are long gone.
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