Published July 10, 2014
By Sydney Walter, Journal reporter
Patriotism was not the only sentiment Belton businesses had to look forward to over the Fourth of July weekend. City-wide reports reveal that the holiday festivities bring in immense amounts of revenue for retailers and restaurants both immediately and in the months to come.
While nationally dismal economic prospects have halted Independence Day celebrations across the board, the Belton Chamber of Commerce delivered the traditional activities this season.
“The Chamber pours thousands of dollars into these events each year,” said Chamber President Stephanie O’Banion. “With over 15,000 people attending the rodeo and 30,000 guests to the annual parade, they are smart investments for the Chamber now and in the future.”
Although the City of Belton itself does not fund the events, proprietors across town experience a sizable uptick in visitation and sales.
“Local restaurant owners report to me every year that the Fourth of July is their busiest time,” said O’Banion. “Visitors eat, stay in local hotels, and fuel their cars, meaning more money for those businesses.”
The surge in tourism also gives participants and sponsors in the Fourth of July Parade a unique marketing opportunity. Interest in entering the parade was up this year, with around 300 entries and a nearly two hour long running time.
“Sponsors realize the economic value in funding a portion of the events,” remarked Belton Mayor Marion Grayson. “New businesses see no better chance to advertise their store since more people than the entire population of Belton will be viewing their name and brand.”
Some businesses are even hopeful that the publicity will carry over into the rest of the summer, continued Grayson. Restaurants such as The Gin at Nolan Creek broadcasted their upcoming family and entertainment events, with the expectation of encouraging large turnouts to them as well.
Even more, the reach of the festivities expanded regionally this year. Crowds from Fort Hood and Killeen show a notice from the military community and soldiers new to the Central Texas area.
“Now people are talking about the Belton celebrations all across Bell County and beyond,” said Grayson. “Soldiers and their families hear about this weekend when they move here, and it creates a sense of community, pride, and ultimately more revenue.”
Central Texans can undoubtedly expect the Fourth of July celebrations to persist, as they weave together tradition and profit seamlessly.
“Belton is a place known for its small town pride, and the Fourth is no exception,” said Grayson. “Generations of families come together to celebrate how proud they are to be American.”