Hometown Pride Tour: Cajun Fest’s economic impact

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 9:19 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - We are continuing our Hometown Pride Tour of Wichita Falls this week with a look at this weekend’s Cajun Fest and the economic impact it makes.

A piece of Louisiana will be in Wichita Falls this Saturday as thousands are set to celebrate the 14th annual Cajun Fest. It’s all hosted by Wichita Falls Downtown Development, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to revitalize the city’s downtown.

Let’s take a look at the overall impact this event has on the community and how you can help.

“When we have that many people downtown obviously it helps us raise money, it helps as a nonprofit raise money for our mission and it’s come and go,” Jeanette Charos, Downtown Wichita Falls Development marketing director, said. “We encourage people like if you have your wristband, you can go explore downtown, hit up the restaurants, the shops.”

The economic impact is typically in the $1.5 million range. In previous years, the family-friendly event turnout for has averaged about 4,500 to 5,000 people attending.”

“We were off for 2020 but we came back in 2021 and we had an outstanding year, we were close to 7,000 people downtown enjoying the day and enjoying the festival,” Charos said.

While community support has been amazing, tradition plays a big role as well. It’s almost like a family reunion.

“We have some long standing vendors who have been with us from the beginning that come and cook gumbo, jambalaya, stuff I have no clue how to cook,” Charos said.

“I wasn’t for sure set on downtown, ever since we opened the dine in and we got to be part of the community, I fell in love with it,” Tanner Lucking, cook for Cajun Fest and owner of Stone Oven Pizza, said. “All the effort I can make with it, as well as other owners, the joy of being able to make a change downtown that means a lot to me.”

To keep events happening downtown, the nonprofit cannot do it alone, but the good news is you can help.

“Wichita Falls wants to have big events and things to do, and that takes a lot of participation from them too,” Charos said. “Come support the event, get involved. If you have ideas, share them with us. We’re always looking for new things to add.”

Some of those new things you can expect this year include alligator, arm wrestling and a mullet contest.

Bring your business in the front, party in the back and see if you have the best mullet in Texoma this Saturday in downtown Wichita Falls.

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