Mt Washington Valley businesses report record breaking July 4th weekend, 2015
News from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – July 6, 2015
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@MtWashingtonValley.org
JULY 4TH WEEKEND FILLED WITH FIREWORKS, FRANKS AND FILM PREMIERES IN MT WASHINGTON VALLEY, NH
Informal chamber survey shows businesses reported increases over LY, some record breaking
North Conway, NH – Businesses throughout Mt Washington Valley, NH weighed in with enthusiasm when asked about how July 4th weekend 2015 compared to 2014, according to an informal survey distributed by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. From lodging to retail to attractions the chamber of commerce heard from member business that it was a weekend for the record books. From the world premiere of the Happy Conway video to a record audience for the evening events in Schouler Park, augmented by great weather this year, July 4th weekend was a great bonus to an already busy summer tourist season in Mt Washington Valley.
“We heard unofficially that there were more than 10,000 spectators in Schouler Park for the fireworks and evening’s events,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “The crowds set a record, as did the fabulous fireworks display and the world premiere of the Happy Conway video, a perfect tribute to the town’s 250th birthday celebration,” finished Crawford.
Clearly those visiting Mt Washington Valley took advantage of the great weather over the holiday weekend, and enjoyed time on the golf course and at the attractions. Jonathan Rivers of Indian Mound Golf Course and Rivers Edge Grille and Tavern shared that the weekend was the best July 4th holiday the course has had in in his 9 years at Indian Mound, crediting great weather and improved course conditions for the record.
Jack Mahany, Assistant General Manager, Story Land weighed in explaining that once again the park was up over last year’s holiday weekend, which has been the case for the past year, also crediting a great weather forecast in attracting visitors to the region.
Jim Miller, “Santa’s Helper” and Marketing Director for Santa’s Village responded to the chamber’s survey with very positive input for the July 4th weekend. “Over the Independence Day weekend at Santa’s Village attendance was up significantly over last year, with the beautiful weather this year playing a big part in that increase compared to some rain a year ago,” said Miller. “Overall for the spring and start to the summer, Santa’s Village is running ahead in both attendance and pre-purchased ticket sales so we’re very optimistic about the 2015 season,” finished Miller.
Becca Deschenes, Marketing Director for Cranmore Mountain Resort, also offered news of huge sales increases for this year over last year’s July 4th weekend, sharing “Cranmore was 45-percent up in admissions for the Aerial Adventure and Mountain Adventure Parks looking at the same three days last year (Friday-Sunday).” Deschenes speculated that the holiday falling on a weekend and the events in town, coupled by great weather, contributed to sales increases. Deschenes also reported a strong start to the summer with admissions to the Adventure Park 18-percent ahead of last year even including a few days that were rained out.
Thomas Prindle, Marketing Director for Attitash Mountain Resort, weighed in on the good news too sharing words from the top, “Attitash Mountain Resort was up considerably in terms of visits and revenue year-over-year over the Fourth of July holiday weekend," said John Lowell, President of Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain. "It's been a good summer so far with mostly favorable weather to enjoy all of our available summer attractions, and our new ZipTour is contributing to an increase in visits this summer. We also continue to see an increase in a more international customer base during the summer operating season."
Not surprisingly, the Conway Scenic Railroad had a great July 4th weekend, according to Susan Logan, Marketing Director. “We had sold out trains, including our dining car on Saturday night, which we’ve never done on the first weekend in July. Our Park & Ride Shuttle was a big success, with over 500 people taking advantage of our “beat the traffic – take the train” offer. And, of course, being right here on Schouler Park, where all the action was on Saturday, was exciting, too,” said Logan.
Every one of the lodging members who responded to the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce’s survey reported increases in bookings over last year. Steve Lambert, innkeeper at the Bernerhof Inn B&B shared that bookings were strong from Thursday through the weekend, with four days of sold-out rooms, an increase of 33-percent for the July 4th holiday weekend. Lambert attributes the increase to the great weather, all the events in the region and a special High Tea lodging package to benefit the Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Foundation. Lambert also said that the Black Bear Pub at the Bernerhof Inn was packed throughout the weekend.
Charlie Mallar, co-owner/innkeeper at the 1785 Inn reported that bookings were way up over last year, also attributing the increase to great weather and the holiday falling on a Saturday. Andrea Walsh, Co-Director, World Fellowship Center concurred with Mallar, reporting that the weekend kicked off a 75th anniversary of summer programming for the Fellowship Center.
Christopher Bellis and Eddie Bennett, co-owners of the Cranmore Inn reported that they were sold-out for the three day weekend, yet revenues were up this July 4th holiday and bookings came earlier than last year.
Charlene Brown of Farm by the River B&B With Stables reported that sales were on par with other July 4th weekends, and that many guests took advantage of the weather for horseback rides and other outdoor experiences.
While few retailers responded to the survey, we heard from Dot Seybold, GM at Settlers’ Green Outlet Village that sales throughout the weekend were brisk at the outlets. Seybold shared that the outlet center had a great start to season and “Conway’s 250th definitely added to the crowds”, noting that the event was “well executed with lots of homegrown charm.”
While there was so much happening in North Conway during the July 4th afternoon and evening, restaurants outside the village had a tough time competing with the events. The chamber heard from Terry O’Brien, owner of the Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub that July 3rd was on par with last year, but sales on July 4th were down compared to 2014, clearly due to the draw of events in North Conway Village.
Many of those who responded to the survey surmised that the rest of the summer will be strong, albeit sales will be dictated by weather, as always. Steve Lambert shared that summer bookings are ahead of last year with midweek bookings paralleling weekend demand for accommodations at the inn, and that Germany, Australia and the U.K. bookings almost parallel those from Canada this summer. The sentiment for a strong summer was echoed by Christopher Bellis and Eddie Bennett, of the Cranmore Inn although they speculated that the late Labor Day weekend may impact August and early September bookings.
When asked about the rest of the summer, Terry O’Brien said, “I think that we will have a great summer with the lower gas prices more confidence in the economy. Add some great weather, and we will all have a great summer.”
With strong travel confidence among visitors to Mt Washington Valley, a wide range of lodging, dining, entertainment and attractions, along with natural beauty, the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce anticipates a strong summer season in 2015. For more information on planning a getaway to the region, visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364). To learn more about planning a New Hampshire vacation, visit www.VisitNH.gov.
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Photo caption: A record breaking crowd gathered in Schouler Park on July 4th for fireworks and a world premiere showing of the Happy Conway Video. Photo by Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative Photography.