CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A combination of dock dogs, fine art, good food and plenty of shopping drew large crowds to Charleston last weekend for the 36th annual Southeastern Wildlife Exposition.
An estimated 45,000 people attended the event in 2018, according to SEWE marketing director Mary Roberts. SEWE also had a 15 percent increase in advanced online ticket sales as well as a 10 percent increase in attendance and a 40 percent increase in weekend art sales. The SEWE VIP program sold out in mid-December, a record for the event.
"We don't have all the numbers in, but I think we broke several records," SEWE Executive Director John Powell said in a statement. "While every year is a little different, there's a spirit among SEWE attendees, artists, exhibitors and corporate partners that's impossible to try to create – it has just evolved over the past 36 years. And it makes a special thing called SEWE a part of Charleston that is unique to any other place in the world."
The 2019 event is scheduled for February 15-17, 2019 and is now considered one of the best wildlife art events in the country. 2017 attendance came in at 43,000 while 2016 measured 40,000 so the event has shown recent growth.
"Incredible crowds, incredible sales, and we couldn't be happier for our event and the city of Charleston," SEWE President and CEO Jimmy Huggins said in a statement. "I hope this is an indicator of what is to come for the 2018 tourism season."