Huge Crowds at Lifest
Huge Crowds at LifestPhoto: Video by nbc26.com
OSHKOSH, Wis.- Record crowds packing the Sunnyview Expo Center in Oshkosh for the 23rd annual Lifest. The celebration of Christian Music is growing in popularity and organizers say in just the first 3 days they've seen a 15 percent increase in attendance, but more people means it's harder to find a place to stay.
The campgrounds are packed. Many hotels are full. People are even going to University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to stay in the dorms just so they have a place to sleep for a night, but all this business is a good thing for the Fox Valley.
Tanya Hielke sets up chairs for tonight's concerts hours ahead of time to beat the crowds.
"Friday night we couldn't believe how far back to the road it was already and that's typically a Saturday night so it seems like it's record numbers this year," said Hielke.
Record numbers are exactly what Lifest organizers have after seeing the biggest opening night crowd ever.
"We sold over 2,500 campsites around the ground. We sold out of camping this year," said Tammy Borden, the marketing director for Life Promotions.
Campers are out of luck this year and if you want a hotel you better move quickly.
According to Borden, " A lot of the hotels are filled in the area. They've had to go all the way up to Kimberly and Green Bay to get lodging. We've also been lodging people at the University of Wisconsin Gruenhagen Hall."
All these people coming and going are crucial for business in the Fox Valley and surrounding cities.
"The variety of events in the summer months are absolutely huge for the hotel business," said Jay Schumerth. Schumerth is the General Manager for the Radisson Paper Valley hotel in Appleton.
For all of you planning on attending Lifest next year, Hielke offers some good advice, book early.
"Next year we're going to go for 4 sites which means we will have to book next week," said Hielke.
There are also some soccer and volleyball tournaments this weekend in the Valley so that also played a part in selling out hotel rooms.