Main Street Festival Drives Nearly $3 Million in Economic Impact

Two-Day Attendance at 125,000, with 28% From Outside Middle Tennessee 

In its 32nd year, downtown Franklin’s Main Street Festival attracted 125,000 attendees and generated nearly $3 million in economic impact, according to a study conducted during the event in late April. The free street festival, produced by the non-profit Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County, has long been recognized as a favorite in the Southeast.

“We wanted to gauge the impact of what this festival means to Franklin and Williamson County, and this study has provided some important insight,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation. “We’re very pleased by the findings, but not necessarily surprised – people from all over look forward to the Main Street Festival each year, and we’re focused on continually enhancing the experience.”

A survey of 432 respondents indicated that while the majority of attendees reside in Williamson, Davidson and Rutherford counties, approximately 28% came from outside the area, including states such as Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania. A reported 12% stayed overnight while visiting the Franklin area, with 50% of those staying three nights or more.

Two-thirds of attendees planned to shop and dine with merchants on downtown Franklin’s Main Street, and also spent money with the dozens of arts and craft vendors at the festival. On average, overnighters spent $194.10 per person, with day-trippers spending $33.03 per person.

Demographically, 43 percent of the respondents (59% female) were between the ages of 35 and 54, while 30 percent were 55 or older and 27 percent were between the ages of 18 and 34. Festival attendees tend to have high annual household incomes, with 41 percent reporting making more than $100,000 per year. The average party size for festival attendees was 3.42.

Respondents overwhelmingly said they plan to return to the Main Street Festival in 2015. The Heritage Foundation produces other signature events throughout the year on Franklin’s Public Square, with 72 percent reporting having attended Pumpkinfest in October and 63 percent attending Dickens of a Christmas.

The study was conducted by Franklin-based Chandlerthinks, a research and marketing firm that developed the survey and analyzed the results.

“These findings underscore the importance of events like Main Street Festival to the economic and cultural vitality of downtown Franklin and all of Williamson County,” said CEO Steve Chandler. “Clearly, the Heritage Foundation is playing a critical role in the community.”