The 42nd Port Fairy Folk Festival may have begun on Friday afternoon, but the effect the event has on the town’s business sector stretches well before and after the first person came through the gate.
Rebecca Nelson from Rebecca’s Cafe in Sackville Street said more people are arriving early and staying later.
“The week leading up to the festival has been really busy, people are definitely coming earlier to spend time in the town before the festival,” Ms Nelson said.
“And they are staying around a bit longer when it’s finished. That week of trade after the festival has become really strong.”
Ms Nelson said her cafe is “flat out” all weekend.
“It is so busy, right through to the Monday afternoon when people just want to sit back with a coffee and reflect on the weekend,” she said.
Moyne Shire Council mayor and Port Fairy resident Mick Wolfe said the folk festival plays an important role in feeding the town’s tourism industry.
Cr Wolfe said the 30,000 people who descend on Port Fairy this weekend are only half the story of what the festival brings.
“So many people who come to Port Fairy for the festival love what they see and come back to the town during the year for repeat visits,” Cr Wolfe said.
“For a tourism town, return visitation is such an important thing, when you get people to visit, you need to provide them with a good enough experience that they want to come back.
“People come for the music but they soon find out there is a lot more to Port Fairy. We are very lucky we have such an active community that is prepared to do the hard work to put on something as special as the folk festival, it’s such a great advertisement for our town.”