An economic study of the 2014 Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade showed the weekend event brought in more than $7.75 million in total economic impact to the city from out-of-town guests, including $2.49 million in labor income.
The study, commissioned by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, tracked visitors who traveled 50 miles or more to Charlotte Pride and is the first professional study performed for a local LGBT event in the Charlotte region. More than 100,000 people attended last year’s Pride fest, according to organizers.
“The LGBTQ community in Charlotte and our surrounding region contribute greatly to the continued economic growth and success of the Queen City,” said Charlotte Pride Co-Director Richard Grimstad in a statement. “As Charlotte Pride enters its 15th consecutive year, we do so knowing that our event has become both a social and economic mainstay for the city we call home.”
Among the survey’s and study’s findings:
• Of the more than 10,500 out-of-town visitors, nearly 81 percent stayed overnight in Charlotte, with 68 percent of those visitors staying at local hotels.
• More than 77 percent of festival attendees also attended the parade.
• The average visitor spent more than $460 per person while visiting the city.
• The average length of stay of overnight visitors was 1.7 nights and included 3.4 people.
• The largest amount of spending was lodging, followed by food, beverage and retail.
• More than 62 percent of attendees spent their dollars shopping, with more than 61 percent spending dollars on local dining.
Diversity is also highlighted in the 2014 survey. Results show:
• 53 percent of attendees were female.
• 45 percent of attendees were male.
• Two percent of attendees were transgender.
• 16 percent identified as straight.
• 10 percent identified as bisexual.
• 33 percent identified as lesbian.
• 41 percent identified as gay.
• Nearly 20 percent of attendees were people of color.
Charlotte Pride began as a small festival in 2001. In 2011, the fest attracted 25,000 visitors; in 2012, the event became a two-day celebration and was held one week before the Democratic National Convention. That year, more than 45,000 visitors flocked to Charlotte to show their pride. In 2013, Charlotte Pride hosted the first local Pride parade in nearly two decades, with more than 40,000 visitors watching the parade and more than 80,000 visitors attending the accompanying two-day festival that weekend.
Entertainment lineup—so far
More than 100,000 people are expected to attend this year’s festival set for Aug. 15-16.
The entertainment lineup so far includes performances by the Prancing Elites, the stars of an Oxygen Media hit TV show, “The Prancing Elites Project.”
The five members of this African-American, gay and gender non-conforming J-Sette team gained national recognition first through YouTube and then on the TV talk show circuit before being picked up by Oxygen to star in a reality TV series. And while they have gained a national following, it is in their hometown of Mobile, Alabama, where they continue to face discrimination and bigotry. The Prancing Elites have played numerous Pride fests, including this year’s New York Pride being held June 26-28.
Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade