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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

Winter Carnival’s national scope unknown

There are two things that can be said for sure about Winter Carnival. It draws Yoopers and Michigan Tech families and alumni to town. Does it bring in visitors without that bond to the Copper Country, though? It’s an issue that still needs to be looked at, says Brad Barnett.

It would require probably some surveying of folks, so that would take some resources to do, but I don’t think there’s anything that would prevent that. Maybe we realize that eventually the draw is not as wide as we think it is, or maybe it’s even more. That’s the fun part about research is answering those questions, and then we’ve got a case to be made about the value of Winter Carnival.

The executive director of the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau says the national profile of Carnival is certainly growing in recent years.

Winter Carnival shows really well on social media, through video, through imagery. It was picked up by Fox News earlier this year, that was something we worked with, kind of pitched that…one of the top 10, top 15 ice carving events in the country.

Additionally, the event has gotten coverage from media sources that would obviously be interested in one of the snowiest climates in America, places like The Weather Channel for instance.

Barnett says the biggest economic boon from Carnival occurs between the Houghton/Hancock area and Calumet, where occupancy rates at hotels soar towards 100 percent. Short-term rentals are also snatched up at a pace more reminiscent of summertime than February. That demand means a roughly $50 increase per room per night. Many area hotels require deposits for reservations, and some will start accepting bookings for the 2023 edition today. There is also a requirement for a minimum length stay, typically three nights.

Area restaurants and bars are another big winner, followed by recreational endeavors.

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