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Bacon Labor Day dirves tourism

Mark Rodeffer - (September 22, 2016)

Simpsonville event draws record crowds


James McMillan with his Best in show classic Camaro


Car show winners showing off their trophy.

7300 I keep fielding the question; ‘how many people attended Bacon Labor Day?’  I’m happy to report our official attendance for 2016 at 7,300.  Bacon Labor Day at Simpsonville City Park hosted 2,500 bacon fans on Sunday and 4,800 on Monday.  Overall our attendance was within 10% of last year’s and Monday was again the bigger day for Simpsonville, due to the holiday itself and our car show.


123 We’ve hosted a car show on Labor Day for three years, and this last car show was our biggest.  We collaborated with Hot Rods and Happy Hour this year and the end result was 123 cars registered, from your modern Corvettes and a Lotus to all your favorite classics. As a judged show, award categories were divided into the top ten modern cars, the top ten classic cars, and 6 specialty awards.  All winners were presented with a branded trophy and some bacon, or course.  The best in show winner was James McMillan with his classic Camaro.  Of special note this year - our car show attracted entrants from the North Augusta and Columbia regions of SC, as well as the Charlotte, NC region.  We were truly honored knowing people were driving their prized vehicles 80 to 90 miles to spend the day at Bacon Labor Day in Simpsonville.
But our car show entrants were out done by some of our visitors from even further away.  We hosted bacon fans from Germany, England, Alaska, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and from all over our region.  We were asked by one fan a couple of times through our Facebook page about activities besides bacon, and when we supplied those items to her she commented “we are so excited, we will be driving 3 hours to be there because my daughter is a bacon fanatic!”  Turns out, they’re from Cheraw, SC.  In addition to Cheraw, we had visitors from the Charleston, Rock Hill, Columbia, and Seneca areas of SC, as well as visitors from the Charlotte and Asheville, NC region.  

1100 Bacon Labor Day uses four sources of data to determine where our visitors are coming from.  For our 2016 event sixteen percent of our visitors traveled more than 50 miles.  The 50 mile threshold is important, as that is the generally accepted definition of a tourist from the Tourism Expense Review Committee (TERC) that has oversight of the State ATax funding.  Sixteen percent of our attendees means that we hosted over 1,100 tourists.  Welcome to Simpsonville!  


$161,000 In addition to our fantastic tourism results, Bacon Labor Day also strives to maximize our local economic impact.  The primary way we do this is by hosting local vendors.  Our vendor base for 2016 is divided into three categories; from more than 50 miles away, from 15 - 50 miles away, and from less than 15 miles away.  The likelihood that the velocity of money continues in Simpsonville is higher when our vendors are from this area. Our total economic impact number for 2016 is just over $161,000.  We are always conservative with this number but it primarily comes from our vendor survey of sales from the event.  

 
81% For our 2016 event, 81% of our economic impact number is for vendors within 15 miles of Simpsonville. 15% for vendors between 15 and 50 miles, and 4 percent for vendors more than 50 miles away.  These are important numbers for our local economy.  When our vendors are successful at the event and from our area, they will continue to spend in our community, donate to our community, and thrive in our community.  The very definition of economic development is increasing the standard of living for our residents.  Bacon Labor Day has done that and the effects will continue in our community, but it does become harder to track those effects

$15,000 Our 2016 event received an ATax award of $15,000.  This money absolutely helped the event achieve these tourism and economic impact results. ATax is short for Accommodation Tax and it’s important to understand that ATax is 2% state tax levied on hotel, motel, and B&B room stays.  Every time a visitor pays their room bill the state collects at 2% tax.  The state accumulates this tax across the entire state and applies a formula to return that money, minus some administration costs of course, to municipalities and counties.  Since that money came from “tourists” staying in rooms, there are restrictions on how that returned money can be spent.  


5% The first $25,000 is placed into a municipality’s general fund to spend as necessary.  That leaves a sum of money that gets further divided by percentages.  Of the money left, the next 5% also goes to the general fund for any general city expense.


30% The next 30% is placed into the Promotion Fund and must be used to promote the city or county that receives the returned money from the state.  Promotion Fund money must be spent by a non-profit entity for the promotion of the city.  This entire 30% for Simpsonville is awarded to the Chamber of Commerce for their efforts in the promotion of Simpsonville.


65% The final 65% is placed into the Tourism Fund and must be used to promote tourism back to Simpsonville.  It’s this Tourism Fund that events like Bacon Labor Day are eligible to use to bring visitors back to our city.  To ensure the funds are spent appropriately, there’s a local ATax Advisory Board appointed by City Council to recommend Tourism Funding allocations. Once a package has been approved by Council, awardees are tasked with spending the allotment and being reimbursed for those expenses after the event has occurred and upon submitting documentation for the appropriate expense.  Besides the local controls for expense review, TERC is always willing to review expenses from these funds. Any business entity is eligible to use Tourism Fund money and in addition to events that bring people to Simpsonville it can also be used for tourism related infrastructure.  In the past few years all of Simpsonville’s Tourism Fund has been awarded to events to drive tourism.  Here are the awards for the 2016-17 fiscal year that received ATax funding:

$6,000 - South Greenville Fair      
$39,518 - (SCOC) Welcome Center  
$40,825 - Simp. Rec. Dept.
$10,000 - SC KOI Show         
$4,500 - (SCOC) Sippin Wine   
$4,500 - (SCOS) Sippin Oktob.
$15,000 - Bacon Labor Day
$30,000 - (TRZ) July 4th Concert
$1,500 - (SCOS) Printed Pkging                   
$1,500 - (SCOC) Holiday Mrkt
$30,000 - (TRZ) The Fair at Heritage Park


8.2% The state ATax awards in Simpsonville total $183,343 for this current fiscal year, and of that, 8.2% was awarded to Bacon Labor Day.  Those funds were invested into advertising and we paid particular attention to include advertising to bacon fans from more than 50 miles away.  It worked, we hosted more than 1,100 people in that demographic and are proud to report our event drew 7,300 people to Simpsonville and is making a significant economic impact for our community.

With the third successful Bacon Labor Day event over, we’re taking a brief break and look forward to continuing to bring tourism and economic development to Simpsonville. And most importantly - thank you to all our volunteers and everyone that helped with the event. It’s a huge undertaking and all the support is appreciated more than I can convey with this message of Thank you!

 Mark Rodeffer, "Boss Hog",
Bacon Labor Day
    

 

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