Organizers expect at least 80,000 people will visit downtown Shreveport over the four days of the 31st Annual Mudbug Madness Festival. All that translates into millions of dollars to the local economy. But exactly how much is open to debate.
From the near ceaseless sound of live zydeco music blaring in the background in Festival Plaza in Shreveport, to tons of crawfish prepared every way imaginable, this year's festival is expected a big boost to the economy. According to Melanie Bacon, it's a $10 to 15 million boost.
Bacon is Executive Director of Downtown Shreveport Unlimited (DSU) the agency that runs the Mudbug Madness Festival. She says that estimate is based on a study on the festival conducted years ago. "We impact every segment of the community; retail, groceries, cars. Every impact to the community is, or every segment is impacted by Mudbug Madness."
But a separate study, commissioned by the tourism bureau back in 2009 and conducted by North Star Destination Strategies, estimated the economic impact locally from Mudbug Madness that year was just under $2.4 million.
That estimate is well below the $10 to 15 million estimate quoted by Melanie Bacon. "Actually, we like our numbers better!," she laughs. "No, but um, I'm sure it's somewhere in-between, you know, it's a lot of guesstimates."
Of the two dozen food vendors and two dozen arts and crafts vendors, several say this year's festival is off to a strong start, especially when it comes to crawfish sales. Vendor Robert shaver, of Shaver's Catering told us, "We're expecting a record-breaking year. This should be our number one year."
As for the festival itself, organizers say in a best case scenario they could clear up to $150,000. We're told those profits go right back into the budget to help pay for other downtown events and activities.