National Competitors & Horse Enthusiasts Add Major Horsepower to Local Economy
Harrisburg, PA (Sept. 1, 2009) – Mary Smith, President of the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau today announced the region will be hosting the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in its 64th year, from October 8-17 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg.
Over the past six decades the annual event has developed into a tradition for a growing number of amateurs and professionals who come to Harrisburg vying for the coveted Hunter and Jumper championships. The growth of this event has not been lost on local tourism officials and event organizers who realize its economic impact for the Hershey Harrisburg region.
According to event organizers, this year’s show will bring in approximately 70 vendors, over 2,000 participants, and 15,000 spectators to the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center over a two week period, accounting for nearly 6,500 hotel rooms-nights and an overall impact of $5.2 million to our regional economy.
The owners of the new Staybridge Suites® Hotel that opened in April 2009 adjacent to the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center said they are pleased with the bookings the hotel is seeing for this event in October.
“We are nearly booked for this event, with reservations coming in daily from as far away as Georgia and California,” said Esther Knight, Director of Sales for Staybridge Suites® Hotel. “Overall, we are very pleased with the extended-stay business we are seeing in our first year from this show and others like it scheduled for the Farm Show Complex next door.”
The impact is also realized by local businesses that can cater to the highly affluent and sophisticated audience that is drawn to the Hershey Harrisburg region for this prestigious annual event.
“Our event translates into an influx of new money to the region every year,” said Liz Shorb, President of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Association. “Especially for those businesses offering unique experiences, fine dining, high-end clothing and general services for both participants and spectators.”
Polling conducted by event organizers at the 2008 show revealed that participants spent $115 in the complex daily and another $135 in the surrounding communities on shopping, entertainment, dining and services. A survey of spectators showed they spent a combined $150 daily on services in and out of the complex including meals, recreation, lodging and services.
Event organizers say they will continue to bring this tradition back to the Hershey Harrisburg Region because the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center is an ideal venue providing nearly one million square feet of indoor event space including two arenas with grandstands to accommodate the large crowds that come to enjoy the shows and exhibitions.
“In addition to the venue itself, the region offers ample entertainment for attendees,” Shorb said. “Those coming to our show also enjoy nearby attractions like Hersheypark and the Hershey Gardens, the new Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue, The Antique Automobile Museum in Hershey and of course the new Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. Harrisburg also offers a wonderful variety of restaurants and nightlife for our attendees along Restaurant Row.”