(Host) The Burlington International Waterfront Festival wrapped up last night. The 13-day event marked the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of the lake and region.
Festival producer Jay Craven says that the first attendance figures look pretty good:
(Craven) "The first estimates are more than 100,000 total, The events started on July second, there were some big performances on the waterfront, smaller performances in town, Flynn theater events fireworks, a whole range of activities."
(Host) Several events had to be moved from the Waterfront due to poor weather. Craven says Saturday’s Champlain 400 performance parade was particularly hard hit by rain:
(Cragen) I think there’s no question that the rain cut attendance for the parade. It also resulted in 8 or ten groups having to withdraw from the parade. Nonetheless, I think people will remember the parade for the deluge in which it took place and that became the character of the event.
(Host) The event was funded by a variety of sources including the state of Vermont, the federal government, the province of Quebec and the city of Burlington. The festival had a budget of $1.7 million. Burlington City Arts is still totaling up the final cost of the event, and box office numbers haven’t yet arrive. But regional business groups estimate the event brought $12-15 million worth of spending to the area.
Burlington’s festival might be over but quadricentennial events continue throughout the year. Next up is French Heritage Day in Vergennes, which takes places this Saturday.