When Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation officials gave us an estimate Monday of 15,000 to 17,000 visitors at Promenade Park's opening weekend, we were skeptical. It seemed like a conservative figure given the crowds packing the park for the three-day celebration.
It was. City officials on Thursday amended their original crowd estimate to 35,000 visitors.
Here's how they came up with the revised figure, according to Megan Butler, program and events manager at Riverfront Fort Wayne:
• Drone footage and camera footage provided by the Fort Wayne Police Department
• Estimated crowd turnover on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. “I kept an eye on the Grand Entrance through the weekend and there was a nearly constant stream of people entering the park (same for other entrances),” Butler wrote. “This indicates that there weren't many people staying for more than a couple hours. I would guess most people made it through the park in two hours or less.”
• Program handouts. Riverfront Fort Wayne had 13,000 programs to distribute and greeters offered one program per group. The supply was depleted by Sunday morning. “This would indicate at a minimum we had double the number of attendees as programs. I calculated using a multiplier of 2.75 to account for children – who did not receive programs.”
• Beer sales. Trubble Brewing sold 60 kegs of beer, more than is sold at Germanfest. Beer sales ended early on Sunday, as well.
• Food sales. At least two vendors on Saturday restocked from their commercial kitchens six times and still could not keep up with demand.
• Vendor reports. “We told vendors to prepare for an event attendance of 10,000-15,000. Their inability to keep up given that preparation would indicate a higher attendance.”
All of that was “a good problem to have,” Butler acknowledged.