Visitor totals remain strong in region: RACVB

Staff Report 

The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB) Thursday announced improved attendance numbers for sites, attractions and events in Winnebago County in 2015.

The region’s tourism attractions and events welcomed 7,662,205 guests in 2015 RACVB said, up 57,627 people from the 7,604,578 guests in 2014.

Individual event attendance in the region grew by 21,216 to a total of 950,058, growth RACVB says is in part due to Rockford AirFest, Winnebago County Fair, Stroll on State, Festival of Lights and Old Settlers Days all seeing an increase in numbers.

“Each year, we see that more and more people are experiencing the Rockford region,” said Josh Albrecht, RACVB Director of Marketing & Public Affairs. “What is really amazing is that our overall attendance numbers are able to rise even as circumstances such as bad weather can affect attendance levels.”

Rockford area sites and attractions saw strong numbers as well in 2015. Anderson Japanese Gardens set an attendance record with 49,272 guests and the Ski Broncs Waterski Show Team performances saw a substantial increase from 28,874 in 2014 to 56,275 in 2015.

“The quality of our sites and attractions is such an amazing calling card for our region,” Albrecht added. “The fact that Anderson Japanese Gardens, Ski Broncs, Burpee Museum of Natural History and Midway Village Museum all improved on their attendance numbers shows that leisure travelers are looking to Rockford more and more.”

RACVB said that with the addition of the UW Health Sports Factory downtown and the recent Tough Mudder event that drew 15,000 visitors that they expect the numbers to grow again next year.

Top 10 events in the Rockford Region (2015 vs. 2014)
AirFest 150,000 135,000
Fourth of July Celebration 125,000 125,000
Winnebago County Fair 95,000 93,000
Stroll on State 66,000 60,000
Festival of Lights 58,000 45,000
Young at Heart Festival 30,000 30,000
Old Settlers Days 29,500 16,977
Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition 28,000 35,000
Pec Thing – Spring and Fall 24,000 24,000
Rockford Home Show – Showtime Productions 23,000 24,500

 

Top 10 attractions in the Rockford Region (2015 vs. 2014)
Sportscore Complexes / Indoor Sports Center 2,878,847 2,867,173
Rock Cut State Park 1,076,346 1,059,183
Ice Facilities – Carlson & Riverview 491,815 477,590
BMO Harris Bank Center (includes IceHogs) 289,837 292,210
Forest Hills Baseball Diamonds 200,000 280,000
Rockford Park District Golf Courses (combined) 187,006 188,528
Magic Waters Waterpark 186,331 170,021
Discovery Center Museum 181,961 169,328
Lockwood Park Equestrian Centre 135,200 133,720
Rockford Speedway 124,556 128,311
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