The 2012 Texas Rose Festival-Rose Season blossomed in both attendance and dollars pumped into the community compared with the previous year’s events, according to a Tyler Conventions and Visitors Bureau report released last week.
The CVB estimated the festival’s economic impact at about $2.4 million, which was 6.6 percent, or almost $150,000, more than the previous year’s $2.3 million.
Included in the account are events that occur that time of year, such as the Tyler Rose Marathon, Firefighter Combat Challenge and Festival on the Square.
Group travelers compose one of the fastest-growing facets of the season. There were 271 tour-group travelers last year, a 68 percent jump from 161 in 2011.
Out-of-towners visiting for the season booked more than 2,000 hotel rooms.
One of the newest feathers in the Rose Season cap has been the Tyler Rose Marathon, Half Marathon and Fit City 5K, which had its third-annual event in October.
About 2,500 runners gathered for the event, with almost half of those participants coming from outside Smith County.
But the season’s biggest draw outside the Rose Festival itself is all about fruit rather than flowers.
The top-attendance draw, according to the CVB, is Moore Farms Pumpkin Farm, which in 2012 saw almost 12,000 visitors, with more than 7,000 of those, or 60 percent, coming from outside Smith County.
Also, good luck in trying to book a camping spot at beautiful Tyler State Park in October, when more than 9,000 outdoor enthusiasts, 40 percent of them from outside Smith County, descended upon that East Texas gem. That marks the season’s second-biggest draw outside the festival.
The running event clocks in at sixth, with Festival on the Square and the Firefighter Combat Challenge tied for seventh with 1,500 attendees apiece.
At the center of it all remains the Texas Rose Festival and a bevy of events ranging from brunches and lunches to teas and parades.
The Texas Rose Festival alone drew 77,662 visitors, with 41 percent of those from outside Smith County.
Some 55,000 lined the curbside parade route, and 10,000 attended the Rose Show. Some 5,000 turned out for the Texas Rose Festival Queen’s Tea.
Year after year, the Texas Rose Festival-Rose Season continues to be the big jewel in the community’s tourism crown.
And with events being added and growing annually, October has become an important month for Tyler’s tourism image.
Brian Pearson is managing editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph.