Attendance at Columbia’s downtown New Year’s Eve party jumped by 25 percent and local hotels and restaurants benefited from $1.2 million in revenue, according to an analysis by party organizers and the event’s advisory committee.
The number of party-goers reached 35,000, according to a Wednesday news release from Famously Hot New Year organizers. That figure is up by 7,000 from the 28,000 reported to have attended the 2014 event.
The 35,000 figure is the first official number released about the Dec. 31, 2015, party, said Sam Johnson, one of the original organizers. It’s also the single biggest year-to-year increase in the five years the party has been held.
Cash registers at area hotels and restaurants rang up 20 percent more than the previous year to reach the $1.2 million total, organizers said.
The Main Street event drew visitors from 36 states and 10 countries, according to the analysis, which was done by event staff members and members of its advisory committee, Johnson said. Johnson was among the original organizers when he worked on the staff of Mayor Steve Benjamin and remains involved in the event now that he’s no longer a city employee.
The analysis also indicates that 75 percent of those who attended were from outside of Columbia and 52 percent from outside of Richland County.