Big weekend events give boost to local economy

By Ava

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) More than 9,500 people filled the seats in Billie Jean King stadium to watch sisters Venus and Serena Williams play each other in the semi-final round of the Family Circle Cup on Saturday.

"It brings a whole different energy when it's full like that.{} The crowd was into it.{} They had a great time.{}{}It may never happen again," said tournament director Bob Moran.

The Williams sisters took to the court just hours after the Cooper River Bridge Run finished.

"The Cooper River Bridge Run has $30 million economic impact," said Race Director Julian Smith.

Smith said he wouldn't be surprised if more than a few runners made their way to Daniel Island after the race.

"We did. I saw a few later in the day and they were dressed in their t-shirts," said Jonathan Broadhurst, owner of Honeycomb Caf.

He said the business from the runners did add to the mix of customers.

"Yesterday was quite a busy day, this whole week has been, so it's great to see the crowds, but we are looking for a little break in the end," said Broadhurst.

Sales associate for Monkees, Beverly Williams, said even on the rain-out day they made a profit.

"This year's been our best year yet.{} People are coming in before the matches start, in between matches, they just trickle over we've definitely benefited from the large crowds this year," said Williams.

Update: Organizers of other events held this weekend reported their numbers late Sunday evening and Monday.

According to Sarah Reynolds, the Publicity Coordinator for Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission, the Lowcountry Cajun Festival at James Island County Park saw record numbers as well.

"Numbers came in recently and the attendance from today's (Sunday) festival was 9,524 attendees," she said. :This is a record for the festival - 2011's festival had 9,393 attendees, which was our previous record."

Ashley Webb with Summerville YMCA said 200,000 people attended this year's Flowertown Festival which yielded a $2.2 million dollar economic impact.

Webb said they saw lots of people from the Bridge Run on Saturday and lots of people who went to Cajun Festival as well.

Overall Webb said they thought it was beneficial for there to be so many events on the same weekend, increasing attendance and excitement for the Summerville event.

*Sandra Ecklund contributed to this story.