The Ozark Crawdad and Music Festival Highlights How Major Events Boost the Local Economy

The Ozark Crawdad and Music Festival Highlights How Major Events Boost the Local Economy Main Photo

8 Apr 2024


Residents and visitors alike celebrated seafood and tunes this past weekend at the 18th Annual Ozark Crawdad and Music Festival on the Square in Downtown. The festival continues to grow as residents continue to participate in the event and more visitors discover how fun it is to attend.

“In 2022, there were 154 vendors and an expected 7,000 in attendance,” says Ozzie Maianeto, Director of the Ozark Parks & Recreation Department. “In 2023, that number jumped to 236 vendors and about 12,000 people in attendance.”

This year, there were 250 vendors and 15,000 people at the event. Attendees have made this festival an annual excursion and continue to spread the word that Ozark, Alabama is a great place to visit.

The Crawdad and Music Festival is just one example of how major events boost the local economy. Not only do festivals and events contribute to the quality of life of residents, but they also turn into significant economic drivers for the area.

Festivals Draw Visitors and Vendors From Across the Region

Events like the Crawdad and Music Festival provide opportunities for local crafters, vendors, restaurants, and food trucks to sell their wares. Business owners can meet new customers and turn them into loyal buyers. However, the economic impact extends beyond local business growth. This festival attracted vendors and visitors from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana, making Ozark a desirable place to visit throughout the South.

“Vendors are attracted to the high attendance numbers as more people travel to Ozark for festivals and events,” says Holle Smith, President of the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation. “In turn, attendees appreciate the large number of vendors representing restaurants, artists, and activities. This makes both groups more likely to return.”

This applies to other festivals throughout the years as well. A few other events that drive people to Ozark-Dale County include:

  • Claybank Jamboree Arts and Crafts Festival
  • The Red Hot Chili Cookoff
  • Oktoberfest in Downtown Ozark
  • Cars and Coffee
  • Brunch on the Square
  • Holiday Open House Downtown

Visitors who attend the Crawdad and Music Festival (and similar events) for the first time can experience the charm and beauty of this region. They will continue to support Ozark-Dale County economically whenever they return. 

Major Events Support Dozens of Ozark Industries 

Conservative estimates believe more than half of festival attendees come from out of town, which brings a significant influx of money to Ozark-Dale County.

“With this many people coming to Ozark, it's not difficult to see the festival's economic impact on local businesses, gas stations, restaurants, and hotels, creating a spike in the revenue generated for the city,” says Maianeto.

This creates ripple effects throughout the region. The vendors who support local business owners also benefit from this bump in customers. The employees benefit from increased work hours and higher tips. The town also benefits from the sales tax and lodging tax collected from visitors.  

Major festivals are made possible through the tireless efforts of planners, countless eager volunteers, and local businesses who invest as sponsors. However, every dollar spent and minute allocated to putting these events on comes with a high return on investment for Ozark-Dale County. 

The Crawdad and Music Festival is Just One Opportunity for Ozark-Dale County to Shine 

While the vendors from the Crawdad and Music Festival have left and the city is cleaning up from this past weekend, the economic impact of the event will last for months after the final songs are played. 

“Large downtown festivals, such as the Crawdad and Music Festival, serve as catalysts for economic growth, cultural enrichment, and community vitality, making them valuable assets for cities seeking to promote themselves and enhance their appeal to residents and visitors alike,” says Maianeto.

These festivals leave fond memories of Ozark-Dale County in the hearts of visitors and make residents proud to call this part of Alabama home. When the next major event rolls around, volunteers and vendors will do everything they can to create positive experiences.

The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation strives to increase the quality of life of residents while boosting revenue for local business owners. Major festivals and events support both of these goals. Follow Ozark-Dale County EDC to learn about the work this organization does for the local community and how you can get involved to help this region prosper.