A festival weekend draws to a close - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

A festival weekend draws to a close

Updated:

Gretna, La. - Festivals that used to be small hometown celebrations are growing every year.  "It was like a secret the first year I came here," said one festival goer. 

The secret is out and over the past 18 years fans of the Gretna Heritage Festival have watched their festival become a national draw.

"They don't have oreos deep friend in Georgia," shouted one out of state visitor.  The food is definitely a star of the festival show. "I think the food  is just as good as Jazzfest or any other festival in the state actually," said another Gretna Fest fan.

Gentilly Fest also entertained the crowds this weekend.  The festival is celebrating it's 5th year.

Events like these draw people to the city for a stay where they can conveniently access the region's festival fun.  New Orleans has reason to celebrate.  A new report shows visitor spending is up 11-percent in the first half of 2012 compared to the first half of 2011.

The city hosted 4.9 million visitors during that time.  That number is up two percent over 2011.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu had this to say about the news, "This growth is excellent news, demonstrating the resiliency of the industry and the importance the cultural economy plays in the overall economic health of our city and region."

It's a region that knows how to entertain.  "These people are cool," said a Gretna Fest fan.  "This is Gretna.  It's a nice place to be."

The latest tourism number for New Orleans are from the UNO Hospitality Research Center's 2012 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile.  It was commissioned by the New Orleans CVB and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

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