Huge crowds get a kick out of first Bootfest

Nov. 3, 2011 at 6:03 a.m.

The first Bootfest, which will be an annual event, was a tremendously successful festival on every level, and on behalf of the city and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, we want to thank everyone who was involved with Bootfest.

One of the primary goals of the Bootfest Committee was to ensure a safe festival, and to do that, we enlisted the help of our police department and some medical personnel from the fire department. Not a single major medical case or emergency incident occurred during Bootfest, and we received many positive comments about the security presence at the festival.

The Bootfest Committee also wanted the festival to be a family event and was pleased to see so many families with children attend the event, even at the closing of Bootfest with the spectacular fireworks display. There were a lot of kids whooping it up when the fireworks were exploding on Saturday night.

Successful festivals do not happen overnight. We want to thank the 20 sponsors who helped to underwrite the cost of the festival; the volunteers who worked during Bootfest; the hundreds of hours of planning by the Bootfest Committee to make the festival so efficient; the dedication of Bruce Ure, the event coordinator, and CVB employees Casey Staudt and Taylor Esco; the Branding Wall courtesy of the Museum of the Coastal Bend; the hundreds of city employees who worked to get Victoria ready for Bootfest and to clean up after it; the downtown business community and Victoria County for allowing us to close streets in downtown Victoria and use their property for Bootfest. And finally, we want to thank the Victoria City Council for bringing a city festival back to Victoria.

Here is a look at Bootfest by the numbers:

Attendance: Our official estimate is between 20,000 and 23,000 attendees. This includes 4,000 in DeLeon Plaza at 9 p.m. on Friday night. Saturday's 9 p.m. count was estimated at 9,000.

The Kid's Corral area averaged about 1,000 people per hour for most of Saturday, and many people came and went before the concerts began. Again, these are just estimates.

More than 1,100 people used the free shuttle bus service to ride to downtown from the Pattie Dodson Health Department Building and the Citizens Medical Center parking lot.

All 72 vendor spots were sold out, as were the 11 spots reserved for food vendors.

We had 15 boot artisans from across Texas displaying their art, and three bootmakers, including one from New Mexico, who showed how custom boots are made.

Bootfest was also a success financially. City Council approved a budget of $100,000 for Bootfest.

After revenues from sponsors, beer sales and vendor fees were added and then all expenses were deducted, the net cost of Bootfest was about $67,000, considerably under budget.

Every downtown restaurant we talked to reported packed attendance on Saturday night as the crowd spilled over all of downtown.

We also want to thank our musical performers who helped draw these huge crowds to downtown.

Our final thanks go out to the thousands of people who attended Bootfest and for the compliments and suggestions we received from them. They acted responsibly and were well-behaved.

We hope to see you again next year.

O.C. Garza is the city of Victoria's communications director and served on the Bootfest Committee.



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