CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston Sternwheel Regatta will return in 2023 around the 4th of July weekend and Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said it was an easy decision.
On Wednesday, Goodwin and Alisa Bailey of the Regatta Commission announced the 2023 event will take place Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4. The event in 2022 marked the Regatta’s comeback to the city, the first one since 2009.
Goodwin said the announcement comes following meetings with community partners, FestivALL leaders, the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Regatta Commission. She said it was a ‘resounding yes’ to the mid-summer date.
“That’s what we heard from the sternwheelers, saying this is what works for us. Our vendors said, almost all of them, ‘sign me up for next year, it was the best event we’ve ever had,'” Goodwin said.
The 5-day 2022 Charleston Sternwheel Regatta, which was held on the exact dates announced for 2023, generated $31,507,883 in economic impact, attracted an estimated 210,000 attendees, and directly supported an estimated 5,978 jobs. The economic impact was calculated by the CVB using the Destinations International Event Economic Impact Calculator.
Of the estimated 210,000 attendees, 71% were local attendees and 29% were out-of-town attendees (traveling from at least 50 miles away). Hotel occupancy is estimated to have been at 95% — for a total of 15,440 total room nights.
Tim Brady, President and CEO of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau has previously stated following the 2022 event, “This event eclipses anything we’ve had in Charleston in at least the last 10 years.”
The music lineup for the 2022 event featured artists such as Martina McBride, the Spinners, the Four Tops, and Rick Springfield. Goodwin told the media Wednesday no decisions have been on next year’s lineup.
“We have a lot of feelers out. The conversations have already started. As you can imagine, we’re hearing back from a lot of people in the community to ask about a certain band or certain act,” Goodwin said.
Before it came back in the past year, it was traditionally held around Labor Day weekend. Goodwin said it’s too early to declare the 4th of July weekend as a permanent fixture.
“We’ve been proven in the first year it can work. I think the second year we fix any little tweaks and missteps along the way and the third year we’ll be cooking,” Goodwin said.
“I think it’s too early to say if this will be the absolute date but the board came back and said let’s try it again.”