Gretna Fest an economic engine that ushers in busy season - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Gretna Fest an economic engine that ushers in busy season

Gretna Mayor Belinda Constant said the impact on the city and its businesses is immeasurable. (FOX 8 Photo) Gretna Mayor Belinda Constant said the impact on the city and its businesses is immeasurable. (FOX 8 Photo)
GRETNA, LA (WVUE) -

The 21st annual Gretna Heritage Festival is expected to create a huge economic impact on the west bank. 

Gretna Mayor Belinda Constant said the impact on the city and its businesses is immeasurable. 

The festival attracts thousands from around the state and - most importantly - entices New Orleans residents on the east bank to make the trip across the river to see what Gretna has to offer. 

"It's people coming back here every weekend because they see a restaurant they like, or because of the concerts that continue, after Gretna Heritage Festival. This kicks off a concert series, and every Friday night after this weekend we'll have concerts for five weeks, and then we'll have movie nights this year - a new thing that will happen this year on Saturday nights, so it's really like a kickoff to an economic development series," Constant said. 

Organizers invite dozens of local restaurants to the 25-city-block festival, which gives the vendors a chance to get their menu in front of new crowd. 

"Huge, huge audience, so that's even better. Having all these people out here enjoying the music and the food, it's just - you can't beat it, you can't buy this sort of publicity on any stage," said Barry Credeur, executive chef at The Red Maple in Gretna. 

For some food vendors, the chance to be a part of the buzz means bracing for lots of new business. 

"Just a few people who've come here today to get to Gretna Fest, you have to pass our business, and they're saying they saw our signs, telling us they're gonna come by next week to check it out. So we need to hire some new people I guess!" said Blayne Bergeron, co-owner of Seersucker Restaurant & Catering in Gretna. 

The festival features major headliners, including Kid Rock on Saturday and Bret Michaels on Sunday evening. 

Organizers say people hoping to use the ferry to get across the river won't experience any problems. After a mechanical error Friday afternoon, Gretna Police scrambled 40 buses to the Canal Street Ferry terminal to pick up festival patrons and said the buses will be on standby Saturday in case there's an other issue. However, they expect the ferry to run smoothly. 

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved. 

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