WARRNAMBOOL accommodation providers and businesses have enjoyed a boost from the Fun4Kids Festival's strongest attendance in five years.
The eight-day children's festival, which sold out on Saturday with 4300 tickets, had many caravan parks and hotels booked solid last week, while retailers and cafes were also kept busy.
Lydia Kippe from Lady Bay Resort accommodation and marketing said many of their visitors had stayed for the full week of the festival.
"Accommodation was full for the week and the restaurant was booked out each night," Miss Kippe said.
"The atmosphere was fantastic, with lots of happy families and kids.
"A lot of people booked for two nights and ended up staying for one or two extra.
"It's probably a little bit busier than other years, but we always get ready for them."
Villa and Hut manager Rebecca Burchell said there had been the typical buzz around Liebig Street during the festival.
"By and large trade has been really good all winter, so the festival gave us a small spike on the usual," she said.
"It was quite busy with lots of Melbourne families and local families as well. We had mums and dads escaping Fun4Kids for few hours with coffees or lunch.
"School holidays in general are a bit busier for us."
Saturday's first ever sell-out attendance showed just how far the festival has come since its inception as a winter school holiday attraction, Warrnambool mayor Jacinta Ermacora said.
"The original purpose of setting up the Fun4Kids Festival in the first place 13 years ago was to provide a bit of an economic stimulus during what is the quietest time for small business retail in our city," Cr Ermacora said.
"Families engaged at the festival for more than two or three days really get hooked into this community feeling within the festival.
"It provides an amazing cultural and activity-based event for families and children attending and it fills the city's accommodation, as well as stimulating the economy.
"It does incur a very small percentage loss each year but it constitutes, from council's perspective, an enormous contribution to the city's economy and an enormous contribution to local children and families.
"It's nationally recognised as the best children's festival and gives the city a profile for the week."