Native American Cultural Fest is a week away - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Native American Cultural Fest is a week away

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Albany and Dougherty County are banking on stay-cations to build south Georgia's economy.

Tourism generates $228 million annually for the city and county. The area has already experienced busy-revenue driving weekends this year thanks to quail and coon hunters.

The Mardi Gras and Marathon weekend also generated more than three million dollars for the local economy.

While some of Albany's biggest revenue driving weekends are behind us, next weekend is a big one. The Convention and Visitors Bureau still has plenty of plans to draw people to Albany with mini trips, like a promotion with the Panthers indoor football team that hopes to fill hotels and restaurants.

Spring break and warmer weather have drawn many people outdoors and they're staying local, using resources including Chehaw.

"It's extremely busy it took about 45 minutes to turn in from Philema and get through the front gate," said Porterfield Day School Parent Rebekah Sumerell.

The park has seen more visitors on the weekends, but during the week it's been busy too and next weekend's Native American Cultural Festival promises to be a big draw.

"We know for example people come down here from Macon, Columbus, they come up from Valdosta, Tallahassee," said Chehaw Park Director Doug Porter.

Staying the night, and eating in local restaurants. Chehaw alone generates between three million and five million towards local tourism and is adding more features like cabins and an expedition ride at the zoo to generate interest.

"That's kind of what we're trying to do, broaden our appeal so more people can take advantage of what we have here," said Porter.

At the Welcome Center, the visitor's sign-in book, is full of out-of-towners, who were staying the night.

"This week has been particularly good, we have actually had a significant amount of Atlanta traffic come down and stay with us," said Albany Welcome Center Director Rashelle Beasley.

Spending money that stays in the community and benefits local business.

Tourism officials say the Thronateeska Heritage Center and Planetarium and the Flint Riverquairum both are preparing to change the exhibits to give tourism and locals something new to draw them in.

The Flint Riverquarium will also bring back the Third Thursdays in May, June , and July dropping prices to 5 dollars from 5:00 to 8:00.

You may notice tee-pees at businesses around town promoting the Native American Cultural Festival at Chehaw.

It starts next Friday for school groups and will be open all weekend for the public.


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