Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry recently released a great video of “Welcome to Warren.” We are fortunate to have some strong events that we rally around and celebrate with the broader region. Often, family and graduation reunions are in full swing when those community events occur. The area restaurants and attractions are busy, and the sidewalks have noticeably more pedestrians.
This weekend is a busy time in our city. There are so many activities occurring from a concert to a new Crary opening as well as civic events celebrating a landmark historic event, and fun events for families as well — it will be difficult to attend everything
I would ask Warren to consider broadening the events and festivals offered in our city. Events and festivals tourism are one of the fastest-growing forms of tourism. They are becoming increasingly popular in rural areas as a means to revitalize local economies. Festivals and special events play important roles in destination development, image-making, providers of permanent attractions, and catalysts for additional development.
Events have direct and indirect impacts on our communities. They provide opportunities for participation, skills development, volunteering as well as social, cultural and environmental developments. Community events and festivals can attract tourists and visitors at regional, national and even international levels.
Events help to capture attention and promote attractions and infrastructures and can add employment to a community. They make it possible to maximize and rationalize the use of certain spaces. Preservation of these spaces may result in financial benefits and the sharing of artistic and cultural heritage.
The benefits of festivals to communities can be extensive, particularly when the draw is from outside the region. I believe that the more involved local people and suppliers are in terms of the provision of services, food, beverages, and attractions, the greater the economic benefits to the region. Local vendors, artisans, craftspeople, restaurants, and lodging locations may make a large portion of their annual income during the course of an event.
Festivals and events have impacts that go well beyond what can be measured in economic terms. They contribute to the quality of life by strengthening communities, providing unique activities and events, building awareness of diverse cultures and identities, and acting as a source of community pride. Community events and festivals can make a significant contribution to rural development with strategic planning, well-defined goals, local-level partnerships, and funding.
I suggest that we work together as a strong community to market our city and region as a destination for tourism. Some events and festivals may be small while others could be on a grander scale. I am convinced that we can embrace the natural beauty of the area and share it with others who also want to experience a piece of “the good life.” We can build upon the visual and performing arts of our region and pursue arts festivals that can draw visitors from Northwest Pennsylvania and beyond.