Agency aims to exceed 15K attendance at YSU fest

The tourism agency spent $10,000 on advertising to draw people to the festival.



YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County Convention and Visitors Bureau wants to see the annual Summer Festival of the Arts at Youngstown State University continue to grow and is willing to put up financial support to see that happen.

“We are basing much of our tourism growth strategy on the promotion of successful, quality events in the county that are already in existence,” said Phil Moore, bureau executive director. “We see this as the ideal tool for us to support.”

Toward that end, the bureau has invested $10,000 in promoting this weekend’s two-day festival, said Dr. George McCloud, bureau president and special assistant to the president for university advancement at YSU.

This is another university partnership designed to promote and enhance the region, McCloud said.

The money was spent on advertising the festival outside the immediate area in an effort to draw more people to the event, he said.

Here’s the plan

The festival, in its ninth year, draws as many as 15,000 people over the two days, and McCloud said the goal is to see that number grow dramatically until it reaches a size similar to the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fairs in Michigan, which draw 500,000 people.

That event started out 40 years ago as a street-corner fair and grew because various groups formed partnerships to make it bigger and better, McCloud said, predicting that the same thing can happen here.

“The university and the CVB believe the festival is poised to take the next step and become an annual happening that attracts visitors from across the region,” he said.

The bureau will evaluate this year’s event to determine what financial support it will offer next year, McCloud said.

This year’s event features the work of more than 60 local, regional and national artists gathered at YSU. There will be more than 60 musical, dance and theatrical performances, dozens of children’s activities, participation by local cultural and religious organizations and the Festival of Nations ethnic fair.

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission and parking are free.

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