SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Red River Revel is off to a strong start in downtown Shreveport.
That's good news for those who enjoy the annual arts festival, not to mention the Shreveport-Bossier City area economy.
Organizers expect 120,000 to 130,000 people to visit during the Revel's eight-day run, which ends Saturday.
That translates into an economic impact of more than $7 million, according to the latest estimates.
Whether it be the art, the music or the food, there's something for everyone at the event that bills itself as the largest outdoor arts festival in the region.
"It's awesome. It's a good time, good food," Chris Morales said, smiling.
The Bossier City native readily admitted he went first and foremost for the food.
"Yeah, the muffaletta pizza. That was actually pretty damn good."
For most of the 25 food vendors, The Red River Revel serves as a large fundraiser for their groups and nonprofits.
The top seller so far for Evangel Christian Academy's softball team?
"Frozen chocolate bananas," said Chad Mayo, a parent volunteering at the team's food tent. "With it being a little bit warm, it has just been a great hit for the last, since we opened yesterday."
First Baptist Church School in Shreveport is among those hoping their fundraisers will have big results.
"I hope so," Eloise Graf said. "This is our first year, so we didn't really know what to expect. And it's been really busy so far."
Revel organizers estimate that 20 percent of the festival's patrons visit from outside the Shreveport-Bossier City area.
That's just one reason the economic impact is estimated to be more than $7 million every year.
One of the biggest attractions - art - includes everything from paintings to bronze sculptures, like the works created by Jim Ford, who says the Revel is better than many similar events.
"I've been to some shows that have been pretty, they're not very helpful. But this one here, they've been very helpful and they take care of their artists."
Last year, Ford won best in show.
He hopes for another strong showing this time around.
And he's far from alone.
RED RIVER REVEL
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Location: Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport.
GET IN FREE
- Every day: free admission with a valid military ID and for children age 12 or younger
- Monday: free admission all day
- Tuesday: 2-for-1 admission
- Wednesday: free admission to anyone who shows an education system employee badge
- Thursday: free admission to anyone who wears a new, old or even handmade Red River Revel shirt
- Friday: free admission for first responders with valid ID
- Saturday: free admission if wear or bring your Revel Run race bib