Festivals keep Old Town hopping

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An Oktoberfest billboard looms over Old Town Diner. Photo by Zachary Swiecicki

By Zachary Swiecicki
Old Town Lansing Times staff reporter

While Old Town Lansing businesses see a lull in customer traffic in the colder months, festivals are able to attract large numbers of interested travelers to the area.


In early October, Old Town was home to Oktoberfest, a smaller, local version of Germany’s popular festival.  This two-day festival brought crowds in the thousands to the northern Lansing neighborhood.


“This [Oktoberfest] is something we always look forward to in October,” a group of excited visitors said.  “It’s not Germany, but there’s no place we’d rather be.”


Below is a chart of the most popular festivals in Old Town:

Festival Dates (for 2016) Website
Oktoberfest Second Weekend of October http://oldtownoktoberfest.com/
JazzFest August 5-6, 2016 http://jazzlansing.com/
BluesFest September 17-18, 2016 http://www.oldtownbluesfest.com/
Festival of the Sun & Moon Third Weekend of June http://www.festivalofthesun.com/


The Old Town Commercial Association hosts festivals throughout the year, and Old Town’s businesses see the impact those festivals have on the community and the businesses themselves.


“They [the festivals] are a big draw,” Lambs’ Gate Antiques worker Gail Mackenzie said. “For the two big music festivals, the Jazz and Blues Festivals, it brings people down here and I think it brings them back.”


For some businesses, those weekends that the festivals are in town are what they prepare for weeks in advance.  Based on how the visitors experience goes, Old Town and its businesses may find new customers that will regularly stop by.


Polka Dots Boutique owner, Jennie Hinze, talked about how much the festivals have meant to her store since she opened it in Old Town roughly seven and a half years ago.
“To me, it’s been huge. There’s thousands of people that come in for them and its exposure to those people that usually don’t come down here for any other reason.”

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