SEWE 2013 successful, but no official numbers yet

The dock dogs were just one of the attractions at the 2013 Southeastern Wildlife Expo (Rebecca Lamb/WCIV)

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The 2013 Southeastern Wildlife Expo has come and gone, but official numbers won't be released until later this week.

SEWE brings people from all across the country to downtown Charleston and each year, it's a nice boost to the economy.

"We are cautiously optimistic just by eyeballing the crowds and seeing the lines out the door, the volume of people in the main hallway in the grand ballroom in Charleston Place. We are hoping the numbers are up," said Mary Roberts, the marketing director for SEWE.

And even the weather this weekend didn't keep people from enjoying the annual event.

"People were disappointed it rained for a little bit on Saturday, but honestly it just drove people inside to look at the decoys, the art, the artisans and everything that SEWE had to offer," said Roberts.

The dock dogs, one of the main attractions, had a crowd rain or shine.

"I think it's the biggest crowd pleaser, especially with the two tanks," said Roberts. "It being the biggest event in the Southeast, it's a really big crowd drawer as you can tell."

For those not wanting to battle the rain drops, there were several indoor shows featuring animals found in the Southeast.

"Where the audience is participatory in the program coming up asking questions afterwards and being able to see the animals; this is what SEWE really is all about," said David Hitzig with Busch Wildlife Sanctuary.

SEWE is considered to be the unofficial kickoff to tourist season. Last year, the event brought an estimated $60 million to the area.