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Kite Festival passes benchmarks with flying colors...

By Natalie St. John

EO Media Group

The Long Beach (Wash.) Kite Festival went well, making a good end to the summer.

LONG BEACH, Wash. — The Kite Festival has come and gone, but the vendors, local businesses and hotel operators are still smiling. This year’s event drew large, enthusiastic crowds, World Kite Museum events Director Holli Kemmer said Monday afternoon.

“It was so great. The vendors were very happy,” Kemmer said.

According to Kemmer, visiting vendors, who set up booths all along Bolstad Avenue saw record sales on the first and final days of the weeklong event. Pleasant weather, dedicated volunteers and die-hard participants all contributed to a memorable festival with “very minimal if any issues,” Kemmer said.

This year, Children’s Day, the kite-making table and the large kites area were especially popular.

Andi Day, director of the Long Beach Peninsula Visitor’s Bureau, said strong attendance at the Kite Festival was another indicator that the local tourism economy is picking up speed. Day said people from all over the Northwest and a handful of international visitors came to town. On Saturday alone, about 375 people stopped in at the visitors’ center. One couple even came to get married with the kites as a backdrop for their ceremony, Day said.

“It’s been a phenomenal summer,” Day said. “Kite Festival is always a big, big week.”

Day said the visitors’ bureau analyzes the numbers of visitors, phone calls, an emails, as well as hotel occupancy rates and lodging tax revenues to determine how successful a season is. As summer draws to a close, these numbers are looking great.

“All of those metrics indicate at least 10 percent over last summer across the board,” Day said.

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