ERIE, Pa. — The tall ships have sailed out of Erie and it’s believed more people than ever attended Erie’s Tall Ships festival over the weekend.
And that means good things for the Flagship Niagara League.
Tall Ships Erie estimated around 80,000 people attended the four-day festival and generated more than $100,000 for the Flagship Niagara League before the big event.
Organizers said it exceeded expectations.
“Our budget for this event was to make a net profit of $170,000 and before we even opened up the doors on Sunday morning, we had beaten our budget,” executive director of the Flagship Niagara League Shawn Waskiewicz said. “So we’re expecting revenues to come in net profit between $250,000 to 300,000.”
John Oliver, president and CEO of VisitErie, said they expect Tall Ships Erie to have an economic impact equal to, if not greater than 2013.
“Still waiting to get the numbers on exactly what attendance was, and I know that will probably take a few days yet for the flagship to tally up things and then we’ll be able to work up kind of an economic input,” Oliver said.
Oliver said nearly 30 bus tours brought people in from as far away as Maryland and Kentucky to see the nine tall ships and other attractions.
Waskiewicz said the El Galeon helped to increase the numbers this year, but the power of the world’s largest duck boosted numbers above 2013.
“When we announced they were coming in July, we sold $12,000 worth of tickets the following week,” Waskiewicz said.
The money raised during Tall Ships Erie goes to help keep the U.S. Brig Niagara sailing
Waskiewicz said after the event they are going to get some sleep but then start planning for 2019.