Away games generate economic impact

Published 5:00 pm Friday, October 28, 2022

By Wayne Andrews

The fall often has our community focused on football season.  Game weekends seem to draw the attention as alumni, fans of visiting teams and the community turn out for the weekend full of activities. One thinks the away games will be result in less hustle and bustle. Yet, those few open weekends become busy. Open weekends are prime for local organizations to host events.  Conferences fill the open weekends seeking to incorporate the town into visitor’s experience.  Cultural groups try to offer a break from the pressure of tailgate preparations. 

Looking at the most recent 14-day window with two weekends of no home football gives you an understanding of how other events create economic impact.  Starting this past weekend Lafayette County hosted the Southern Foodways Symposium which drew 250 culinary experts and food lovers to our community.  While the Symposium includes several meals between lectures, talks and presentations.  The chefs, writers, researchers, brewers, distillers, and foodies who attended explored the restaurants throughout our community.   That the town itself becomes part of the symposium experience adds to the overall quality of the program but also contributes to the local economy.  

Another 200 visitors explored Lafayette County as the Arena hosted the regional Barrel Races attracting visitors from Tennessee and Mississippi.   Participating in a barrel race involves a crew. Who have to be feed, housed, and who need equipment to support the horses brought to compete in contest.  Local vendors from food trucks to craft goods set up creating a festival that engaged attendees encourage participants and viewers to spend the day in Lafayette County.

Three different art shows kept the Square lively over the weekend.  Southside hosted an artist conversation to close out their current show.  The Motel Art Show featured local and visiting artist drawing hundreds to celebrate Southern artist.  MIC Harder 9000 hosted a pop up show highlighting his Oxford restaurants paintings.  Collectively these three show drew hundreds of locals and visitors to the community who purchased art, ate dinner out, and for the visitors spending the night.

This coming weekend features a host of events that impact the local economy.  The Monster’s Ball at the Country Club and the Ghostly Gala at the Powerhouse on Friday will create local business for local bands, caterers, and for their suppliers as hundreds of adults attend parties.  Attendees dressing up means costume shopping. Spending a night out means Uber fees, baby sitters, and even ordering food.  Add to that the numerous family events from Spooktacular, OPD Haunted House, or Coleman Funeral Home Trunk or Treat results in a host of businesses buying local and spending to support community events.

While I hope we are all excited for the next home football game.  Let us cheer all the community organizations that fill the away weekends with theatre productions, concerts, festivals, and conferences. The impact of a successful football season means more attention on our community drawing visitors to explore all the experience available to them in the Lafayette Oxford University community.

Wayne Andrews is chairman of the YAC.