VISTA — The Strawberry Festival is one of the largest events in the town of Vista every year. Vista Chamber of Commerce CEO Bret Schanzenbach provided City Council members with a post-event update during their Aug. 8 meeting.
Schanzenbach called the May 28 event a great one.
Event data showed that more than 100,000 people were in attendance and 415 street vendors took part in the day. The number of street vendors was an all-time high, up from a 5 percent growth the previous year.
Schanzenbach also shared they had 2,200 participants in the Strawberry Run. According to Schanzenbach, those numbers slightly dipped because its program with the school district changed this year.
“We had less kids who ran in the event than we had in the past, but our 10K/5K was very strong,” he said. “We did have runners from 10 different states,” he said.
Thirty percent of the runners were from Vista while another 36 percent were from other cities along the 78 corridor. A total of 14 percent of entrants were from other parts of San Diego County.
Schanzenbach wanted the City Council to know that its public relations efforts netted a small mention in the New York Times and they received coverage in the San Diego Union-Tribune along with seven other local print media outlets. On television, KUSI provided coverage.
The Strawberry Festival also had a significant social media presence.
“Our website traffic was ginormous,” he said, adding that they had more than 21,000 users on their site.
The Strawberry Festival app was also widely downloaded.
“It (the app) allowed people to access the schedule, the map of the event and then different social media feeds and things like that,” he said.
According to Schanzenbach, the cost to host the event was near $145,000.
“The bulk of that is spent with vendors and companies right here in Vista, and then another large portion is spent with other service providers in North County,” he said. “So, we try to follow the same mantra that we preach and that you do: Shop local and keep those dollars local.”
Looking ahead to next year’s Strawberry Festival, slated for May 27, 2018, Schanzenbach shared that there is a future challenge. The area of 100 Main Street is no longer available for events. This locale was for the festival’s carnival rides.
“We’ve already engaged discussions with the Vista Unified School District,” Schanzenbach said. “It’s about potentially utilizing the (Vista) Magnet Middle School for carnival rides, and they’re open to it. So, if those end up being fruitless in the end, I might be coming back to talk to all of you about some other ideas, and hopefully we’ll get some support.”