BY STEFANIE JACKSON, Eastern Shore Post —
The annual free summer concert series in Cape Charles Central Park, which draws visitors from both sides of the Chesapeake Bay, may have been the most well-attended to date, according to estimates.
A total of around 15,000 people attended the 12 concerts, according to a conservative estimate by Hank Mayer, president of Cape Charles Citizens for Central Park, the nonprofit that organizes the concert series.
The Deloreans band had the biggest draw, about 2,000 people — but even that estimate may be well short.
According to a location intelligence and foot traffic data company, as many as 3,800 people attended the concert.
The success of Concerts in the Park this year likely was due in part to a $6,000 marketing grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, which the citizens group used for advertising in print and on social media.
The print ads targeted local residents and the social media ads attracted concertgoers from west of the Chesapeake Bay, Mayer said.
The ad campaign helped bring Cape Charles more day-trippers‚ visitors who don’t stay overnight.
The typical day-tripper may drive 2 or 2.5 hours to Cape Charles, go to the beach during the day, and attend a concert in the park in the evening.
Each concert runs until around 9 p.m., allowing travel time for visitors to return home, Mayer said.
Due to a rise in the number of day-trippers visiting Cape Charles, more restaurants are opening in town and meals tax revenues are increasing, he said.
Transient occupancy tax revenue, which is collected by hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and other overnight accommodations, is also on the rise, Mayer added.
The increase in tax revenue indicates the further success of many of the concert series’ biggest sponsors, including restaurants, a hotel, a short-term-rental homeowners group, and real estate agencies.
The citizens group is looking forward to building on its recent efforts to make Concerts in the Park even better next year.
Already scheduled to return in 2024 are The Deloreans and favorites like Good Shot Judy and The English Channel.
This was the first year a food court was set up at Central Park for the concerts, and with the help of an $8,000 Northampton County grant, Cape Charles and the citizens group are investing $12,000 in underground electric service to allow mobile food vendors to operate without the use of generators in 2024.
The group also wants to continue hiring more bands that play popular music.
Mayer said, “What we’re trying to do in ’24 is do more of that … bands that people really like to sing to, dance to … and match it with more social media.”