Officials with the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau estimate that more than 82,000 people attended ‘Stroll on State’ events on November 25th, which they say is a 10% increase over 2016’s event.
While estimating crowds in an environment where people are continually moving about over several hours can be a somewhat subjective process, the RACVB does have some hard numbers for specific events which do show the event continues to gain in popularity.
For instance, they note that 4,200 children visited Santa Claus (a 20% increase over last year), 3242 s’mores were eaten (a 38% increase over last year), and 794 letters written to Santa noting their wishes for Christmas (a 58% increase over last year), among others.
Downtown merchants report also seeing increased visitors and increased sales during the event, with the Rockford Roasting Company reporting five continuous hours of sales higher than any single hour of sales for the entire year as an example.
A survey done by RACVB also found that 95% said they are more likely to come back downtown after experiencing Stroll on State (a 5% increase over last year) while 46% of people said that Stroll on State has now become a holiday tradition for them.