Show Me the Money!

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

The 20th annual Wells Fargo Art and Jazz Festival continued Saturday with more music, food, and fun. But it's not just visitors who are having a good time.

"Art and Jazz is always a fun event for us," said Brunella Gualerzi, owner of Il Bistro Italiano. "It's really a great crowd pleaser."

But none are left quite as pleased as the downtown business owners.

"Art and Jazz is a wonderful time to bring a lot of people downtown," said Mike Allen, owner of Toys For the Fun of It. "When people come downtown, they get to see the businesses down here and it's really great exposure."

Great exposure is right. While the event attracts hundreds of locals, the Visitor and Convention Bureau does its part to bring in people from all parts of the state and country, making for an economically friendly end result.

"We're expecting thousands of people this weekend," said Kathy Dirks, spokesperson for the Downtown Partnership. "Therefore, the shops are open, the restaurants are open and we assume they're going through the door and buying things."

Business owners say those are good assumptions.

"It's probably increased our business by a good thirty percent," said Gualerzi.

"The cash register does ring on a day like today," said Allen.

Some business owners say for them, the festival means more than just sales. It gives them the opportunity to get involved.

Il Bistro Italiano and a handful of other restaurants set up shop outside near the main stage. Toys For the Fun of It sponsors chalk on the walk, giving kids the chance to create their own artwork along Main Street.

"It's a great time to introduce kids to actually doing art," said Allen.

Good business and good fun that they say makes the Art and Jazz Fest one of their favorite times of the year.

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