The most logistically complex First Wednesday Art Walk in the nine-year, 11-month history of the event was a hit with visitors.
Downtown Vision Inc. produced an authentic Oktoberfest celebration on Oct. 2, complete with an authentic German festival band brought to Jacksonville from Epcot Center in Orlando, tables in the middle of Laura Street for hundreds of people and about 50 kegs of beer.
"This was the first time for us to take Art Walk up a notch. We doubled our average attendance that night. We easily had 15,000 people Downtown," said Terry Lorince, DVI executive director.
Attracting a larger crowd than usual not only increased the population of Hemming Plaza, it also led to nearby restaurants and retailers doing more business, she said.
Staging a more complex event also means increased expenses for the event. Lorince said DVI "basically broke even" on Oktoberfest when the additional expenses were balanced against income from beer sales.
"Our intent is not to do something on that scale for every Art Walk. We wanted potential sponsors to see a different kind of Art Walk," said Lorince.
DVI is actively marketing new sponsor opportunities, including a $70,000 annual "Presenting" sponsor level and a $15,000 per event "Headquarters@Hemming" sponsorship.
"It was a great event and a learning experience. We brought 15,000 people Downtown and they had a great time," Lorince said.