Many of the 'FESTERS' are already in the Rhinelander area as the 37th Hodag County Festival begins Thursday. A local official says the economic impact is large.
Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce Executive Dana DeMet says they have seen much increased traffic at the chamber. He says estimates are that the city's population quadruples in size for the week of the festival....
"...overnight traveler will spend about $168 per person for the time they are traveling overnight. Multiplying that over the number of people you expect to come....that's about $2.5 million dollars for just one day...."
DeMet says lodging, food and dining establishments, gasoline dealers and the many attractions all see large increases in business.
DeMet says another side effect of all the visitors is a chance to return for other visits..
"...we direct a lot of people in the week before Countyfest while they might be here for the music, they want to know where there are rivers to go fishing, lakes to do the same, or just go and find a nice beach. With them getting out and about in our natural landscape and also in our downtown areas and the rest of our area they can get a good exposure to what Rhinelander might have to offer...."
Tens of thousands of visitors come through the gates each year. The music begins Thursday with Marty's Party. Some of the headliners include Kenny Rogers, Kellie Pickler, Josh Turner, Darius Rucker, Sara Evans, and annual favorite Neal McCoy, among many others.