The 40th annual Hodag Country Festival officially begins Thursday(7/13) at the grounds north of Rhinelander in Pine Lake. Tens of thousands of fans are expected to hear some of the top acts in country music.
But aside from the event, the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce notes all the visitors have a huge economic impact on the community.
Chamber Director Maggie Steffen says state numbers crunchers have come up with an economic impact in Rhinelander....
"....a visitor spending the night coming to our area, they're guesstimated to spend $180 dollars a day. With 20,000 customers at Country Fest, that's about $3.6 million impact per day for our community....."
Steffen says lodging, retail and other sectors see a sharp uptick in customers.Camper rentals also see an increase. She says many people visit the sights in the Rhinelander area while taking a break from the festival. She says they go golfing as one example. She says local non-profits also benefit with a vendor booth at the event.
Steffen says the large Hodag in front of the chamber offices is also an attraction...
"....it's amazing. There's someone out there rain or shine. It's non-stop. It's a wonderful thing to have. The Hodag is a notable thing and having it out there has had people come and visit. I wondered the other day, 'I wonder how many people came to the chamber before the statue?' because it's a perfect destination...."
Little Big Town headlines four days of acts on the main stage. More information is on the Hodag Country Fest website.