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Island Hopper Songwriter Fest boosting local economy

Posted at 6:35 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 18:35:46-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- September is the slowest month of the year for businesses in Lee County according to Lee County Tourism and Convention Bureau officials.

The Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is giving the local economy a little boost before season really picks up over the next few weeks.

The sixth annual festival kicked off over the weekend on Captiva Island, organizers say about five thousand people were in attendance, and expect that number to grow.

"It’s a big help for not only business owners, but all our servers and staff because they look forward to it as well,” said Sandy Stilwell Youngquist, General Manager, Key Lime Bistro.

Stilwell Youngquist owns Keylime Bistro, RC Otter's Island Eats, among other establishments on Captiva and says business was booming, “I would say about three times the amount of business we would have in a typical weekend, maybe four times."

The red drift algae on the beaches not putting a damper on attendance, organizers expecting an overall increase from last year.

“We had about 12-14 thousand people attend all the venues, 28 different venues throughout Captiva, Downtown Fort Myers, and Fort Myers Beach,” said Nancy McPhee, Manager, Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Monday marks day four of the ten day festival, with seed and bean market in Downtown Fort Myers hoping for a large turnout.

“We expect a big impact, we already had a lot of people in today, and last night after the event at the [Florida] Repertory Theatre,” said Terry Tincher, General Manager, Seed and Bean Market.

There are 120 performances throughout the festival that ends in Fort Myers Beach on September 29th.

“We’ve lived her our whole life, so we recognize the importance of bringing in events, people from out of town, and keeping the hotels and restaurant people happy,” said Tincher.

Click here for more event details.