Businesses and vendors cash in thanks to Country USA
By Gabrielle Mays
TOWN OF NEKIMI -Visitors to Country USA got their fill of music at this year's event.While vendors inside the event and businesses in the Oshkosh area are say they've seen a boost in sales.Country USA is over for another year and this year it was a record breaker.For the first time ever the event sold out bringing in around 185,000 people. Organizers say the festival brings in millions of dollars to the Oshkosh area.Ford Festival Park looked pretty empty on Sunday. But some of the vendors we spoke with say 2014 was their most successful year."I'd say we sold a lot more product this year than we did last year," said Jerome Ellman.Ellman managed a food tent during this year's event."I think we came close to $1.5 million and just beer tents alone and food stands, I'd say we came pretty dang close to it as well," Ellman said.Ellman isn't the only one happy with sales. Angela Trainor sold T-shirts during the event."It was probably 30 percent better than last year. It was good," said Angela Trainor.Vendors inside the park weren't the only ones who saw an increase in sales."The ice was the other thing that really surprised me this year and this is what's left of the weekend. I guess you could say it was pretty good timing because we got right down to the bottom," said Marty Schibbelhut.Schibbelhut owns OshVegas Palms Resort. It's a campground and small convenience store just outside of the park."We're probably up, based on last night's number probably 35/40 percent," Schibbelhut said.All 50 or Schibbelhut's RV and tent sites sold out this year."For us, it was our best year ever," Schibbelhut said.Country USA promoter Dan Liebhauser says the economic impact on the area is huge."You're looking at about $20 million that is related to Country USA in impact on this regional area," said Liebhauser.Businesses weren't the only ones that stayed busy during the event."There's a lot of trash," said Justin Graf.Clean up crews say they've already picked up around 150,000 pounds of trash."We have to clean up these main grounds plus the parking lot so we're always pretty busy," said clean up crew manager Bert Olson.Olson says the biggest challenge is picking up all the trash before the wind blows it away.Country USA already has big plans for next year's 20th anniversary.The 2015 lineup includes Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert, and Eric Church.
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