North Carolina Apple Festival

April/May 2014

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Case Study: North Carolina Apple Festival
by The Writing Team of

Historic Hendersonville, NC is the official home of the annual North Carolina Apple Festival, a four-day celebration of the bountiful Henderson County apple harvest. The festival is held annually over Labor Day weekend on Main Street, culminating with the King Apple Parade on Labor Day. The street fair, which covers 9 linear blocks, is capped at 150 vendors to manage crowds and preserve the attendee experience.

For the 67th Anniversary in 2013, the NC Apple Festival Board of Directors commissioned an objective, professionally-conducted research study to examine the festival and its economic and cultural impacts on the community. From the estimated overall attendance of 250,000 in 2013, unique attendance was calculated; 182,065 attendees, with 37,168 Henderson county residents and 144,897 non-Henderson County residents. During the study, a total of 400 completed, randomly-administered iPad surveys throughout all four festival days and operating hours were returned at a response rate of 79%, with no incentive provided for participation.

Geographically, the majority of attendees were distributed regionally around Western North Carolina and the Upstate of South Carolina, within a 2 hour drive from Hendersonville. From the research study data, organizers can now obtain a clearer picture of where attendees were coming from, their demographic information, spending breakdowns for unique areas or demographics, how they heard about the festival, and also when and why they decided to attend the festival.

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