BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The success of the inaugural Light City Baltimore festival has organizers pushing for more for next year's event. WJZ's George Solis reports that will come with a higher price tag.
The transformation of Charm City into Light City was an illuminating experience for thousands. The inaugural week-long festival celebrating arts and innovation drew around 400,000 visitors. Those people also brought in nearly $34 million to the local economy.
Light City Baltimore's founders tell WJZ the festival exceeded expectations.
"This is more than just an arts festival, it is an economic development tool, a driver of opportunity for the city," said Justin Allen, Light City Baltimore.
That's why organizers are now looking to go bigger, badder and brighter. Last year's event cost nearly $3.9 million. Next year's budget is $4.2 million.
"We feel pretty good that we'll make our goal. We're also hoping that the amazing success of last year, in that we came out of the gate in such a fantastic way in year one, we'll attract national sponsors," said Kathy Hornig, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts.
The festival will still rely heavily on local business support. Many businesses support Light City Baltimore -- some are even planning for next year's event.
"Here at the Scupper, we had our scupper ship that's right behind us here all lit up in blue with lights on it... all types of decorations draped in the American flag. We support it 100 percent," said general manager Ed Prutzer.
Organizers want to extend the festival from seven to nine days. There are also plans to extend neighborhood events from the five this year to eight next year.
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