SEWE prepares to bring in millions of dollars to Charleston economy
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - More than 40,000 people are expected to converge on Charleston this weekend for one of the city's biggest event.
The 35th annual Southeastern Wildlife Exposition kicks off Friday morning drawing in locals and people from around the world.
Setup was underway Thursday all over the peninsula where activities will take place.
"We've got dock dogs, two tanks worth of competitions going on, retriever demonstrations," said SEWE Executive Director John Powell. "Goods and Outfitters, we've got a lot of our sponsors set up, and it's just a fun outdoor atmosphere."
Jimmy Huggins, the President and CEO of SEWE said roughly 40% of the people who turn out this weekend are locals, the other 60% are people from out of state, and even the country. It's an event which tries to start each year out on a good note.
"Everybody tells us that," Huggins said. "The Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the city [all say that]. It kicks off the tourist season, no doubt about it."
It's also a beneficial event for some of the local non-profits.
"A lot of these conservation organizations raise a lot of money during SEWE weekend," Powell said. "Especially some of the smaller ones who may not have this kind of audience or access to this kind of crowd all at one time."
SEWE isn't just about the wildlife or the arts, it's also about the fashion, and local businesses are feeling the effects.
"This weekend's number are more than double what a normal weekend is," said Gary Flynn, President and CEO of M. Dumas & Sons on King Street.
According to the Charleston area CVB, in 2016 SEWE weekend brought nearly $25 million into the city's economy.
Those numbers are from industries including hospitality and retail.
"They dress sort of country-chic," Huggins said. "They love the Barbour jackets."
"We will sell… 100-150 of them," Flynn said. "Something in that world, between men's and women's."
"They love the moleskin pants," Huggins added. "The ladies love to get into the scarves."
Tickets are still available to several of the events this weekend.
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