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Free Events, Major Money

July 12, 2012, 9:59 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Free Events, Major Money

Thousands of visitors will be filling the streets of Sioux Falls this month.

From Jazz and Blues to the Blue Angels, Sioux Falls has a lot happening this July and it could provide a big boost for the local economy.

"It's a huge economic impact to the community. July is one of our strongest months simply because so many people are visiting," Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Teri Schmidt said.

This month is especially packed with events from major national softball tournaments coming to town twice in the month, to JazzFest which attracts 75,000 people, and the city is also hosting the Sioux Falls Air Show which is only held every three years.

"What we're excited about with this air show is it's really going to probably be one of the best in the country this year. We've started getting calls from people all over the United States and into Canada so they're going to travel a long way just to see our air show," Sioux Falls Air Show executive board member Rick Tupper said.

The Sioux Falls Air Show is expected to draw 180,000 people to Sioux Falls over the two day event. And the big draw is not just the Navy's Blue Angels but also the fact that it's a free event, something that not many other air shows offer.

"There's a lot of air shows in the region but most of them have a fee. What we want to do is we want to open that door so everyone can feel welcome and walk in the gates and see this stuff. Of course we couldn't do that without the awesome sponsors around Sioux Falls," Tupper said.

JazzFest is also a free event because of the sponsors who help support the three day marathon of concerts at Yankton Trail Park.

Schmidt says the community businesses that help offer these major free events in Sioux Falls also give visitors the incentive to pump money back into the city.

"Maybe they'll go shopping, whereas if they had to pay to get into an event they might have cut back a bit, or maybe they'll stay in a little nicer hotel that they wouldn't have if they had to pay more," Schmidt said.

The numbers prove that the economic impact is big. Back in July of 2009, which is the last time the city hosted the Air Show, JazzFest, and a national softball tournament the city brought in $5.3 million in sales tax, $673,000 in entertainment tax which taxes things like food purchased at restaurants and nearly $82,000 in lodging tax.

To put that in perspective Sioux Falls hasn't collected that much money in those three areas in any other month in the last three years.

"JazzFest, Air Show, we're talking multi-millions of dollars each that will benefit Sioux Falls," Schmidt said.

"I think it's a great opportunity for all of Sioux Falls to really absorb that to where they're staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and they're going to places other visitors would go in Sioux Falls," Tupper said.

And that's why all of the events that will be hitting Sioux Falls in July promise to have a sky-high affect on the community.

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