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With Evel Knievel Days in doubt, Butte merchants worry drop in business

Posted at 7:17 PM, Apr 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-05 21:17:43-04

BUTTE- How big of an economic impact do Butte’s summer festivals have on local business?

“A couple of them told me it’s better than Christmas for them. I don’t know if they rely on it for their business, but they sure like it when they’re here,” said George Everett of Mainstreet Uptown Butte.

Butte’s Montana Folk Festival will return this summer, and so will the An Ri Ra Irish Festival. But the future of Butte’s Evel Knievel Days Festival is still in doubt. Some fear it will leave a big economic hole in Butte’s summer.

“Because their the attendance it between 50,000 to 75,000 people consistently. It’s a whole different audience and a wonderful impact on the local community and the local economy as well. It’s a great event,” Everett said.

Some Uptown businesses appreciate the influx of people the festival brings to town.

“The festivals bring a lot of people into town. A lot of them find their way to our store. They have leisure time to shop, and it’s a real boost for business,” said Joel Broudy, the owner of Wein’s Men’s Store.

Butte’s summer festivals are not only good for the bars and restaurants in town, some say that the attention it brings to the Mining City from people outside has a lasting economic impact into the future.

“It excites people about Butte. You see people come that never been here before and the next thing you know their buying up buildings. You know in the last five years, I’ve seen new growth in new people moving to Butte, and they’re young, they’re younger people that want to do something,” said Paul Cote the owner of Gamer’s Café.

But if they want to attend Evel Knievel Days this summer, they may be disappointed.

Organizers with Evel Knievel Days have not officially said it the festival will not happen this year, but they need $200,000 to pull it off.