Early reports indicate attendance up at TRF

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Three Rivers Festival ended Saturday, and attendance appeared to be above average, according to initial estimates by festival organizers.  The festival’s director said sales in some areas were up, which he hoped would translate to a boost in attendance, too.

This year’s Three Rivers Festival ran from July 11 to July 19.

“It has been a fantastic year,” Jack Hammer, the festival’s executive director, said.  “Food sales are up.  Ride sales are up.  The concerts were great.  The weather held off.  I think it’s been a great festival.”

Hammer thought the weather played a positive factor in this summer’s attendance.

“I remember it being below 55 degrees one morning when I woke up,” Hammer said.

In fact, during the festival there were two days where the high temperature never reached 72 degrees.  One of those days Fort Wayne set a record low for the highest temperature ever for that day.

“Last year was really hot,” said Stephanie Fox, who was sitting above the old Wells Street Bridge for Saturday’s raft race.  “This year it was just perfect temperature.”

Hammer added that in 2012, it was so hot that attendance was down about 25 percent.  He said the Indiana State Fair saw the same decrease that year due to the extreme heat, too.

“I think we had wonderful weather,” said Hammer.  “That brings people down.”

Many people who spoke with NewsChannel 15 said they made their way to the festival as many as four days this year.

“We came down last Sunday for the vendors and crafts,” said Kristy Curtin, who attended her second TRF.  She and her husband moved to Fort Wayne within the last two years from California.  “They don’t have festivals like this out there.  Here, there is something for everyone.”

Stephanie Fox said TRF was a tradition for her family.

“We went to the downtown area, and to the parade,” Fox said while waiting for Saturday’s raft race to begin.  Her brother competed in this year’s race.  Fox and her family watched the race from the old Wells Street Bridge.  “We do that every year.  This is just part of the summer.  Three Rivers Festival is synonymous with summer.”

“The Three Rivers Festival, for 46 years, has really banged the drum of community spirit and pride,” said Hammer.  “It really is the best of what Fort Wayne has to offer.”

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