If you’re like me, a portion of your summer is spent attending one of Chicago’s many summer festivals. According to Explore Chicago, the city’s official tourism website, Chicago is home to more than 400 different festivals every summer. There are festivals celebrating each of Chicago’s historic neighborhoods (Old Town Art Fair, Sheffield Garden Walk and Festival, Wicker Park Fest); festivals trumpeting every type of music imaginable (Chicago Blues Festival,Chicago Folk and Roots Festival, Lollapalooza) and festivals paying homage to foods from all over the world (Chinatown Summer Fair, Taste of Chicago, Ribfest Chicago, Taste of Greece).
One thing all of these summer festivals have in common is their backdrop – Chicago’s iconic skyline. That, and the fact that they draw big numbers of people and revenue into the city each summer.
According to a post on World Business Chicago’s blog last year, the Mayor’s Office of Special Events estimates that each summer, Taste of Chicago draws more than 2.5 million people alone, while the Air and Water Show brings in about 1 million people each day during its annual weekend extravaganza. And these attendees, be them Chicagoans or tourists, inject millions of dollars into our city’s economy. A large festival, such as the Taste of Chicago, can generate more than $30 million in revenues alone. That’s in addition to increased sales at hotels, restaurants and parking garages.
No matter which Chicago summer festivals you attend, the city’s vibrancy and the beauty of its downtown landscape set the stage for a memorable experience. BOMA/Chicago’s more than 250 member buildings represent more than 81 percent of downtown Chicago’s total rentable building space. That’s quite a chunk of the Chicago skyline.
When you think about it that way, the buildings we manage and work at everyday are huge contributors to the success of Chicago’s summer festivals. One can argue that the city’s summer tourism market and in turn, the attendance at summer festivals, wouldn’t be so large if not for the dramatic backdrop our buildings provide.
The next time you’re sampling a Chicago-style hot dog in Grant Park at Taste of Chicago or listening to some live tunes at the world’s largest, free outdoor blues festival, make sure to pause for a minute to take in the spectacular skyline in the background. I think you’ll have to agree, it wouldn’t be the same without it.