Downtown, Charleston (WCBD) – The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition kicks of this Friday, but set-up is already underway across downtown Charleston. This 3-day celebration of wildlife and nature is one of the first major events of the year that brings tourists from across the nation to Charleston, marking the start of tourist season.
The Charleston Visitors Bureau says that tourist season has a positive impact on the local economy and events like SEWE start the season out strong with a multimillion-dollar impact.
Dan Blumenstock, Executive Committee Member, Explore Charleston says “There’s a $50 million-dollar economic impact into the county and into the region. That’s huge. We are very excited when you see the travelers that are coming from far and from near…It’s one of those things that helps secure jobs. In the Lowcountry, all of the restaurants, all of the hotels, all of the hospitality industry we thrive in times like this.”
One of the many things that attendees can experience this weekend at SEWE is a fine arts exhibit. Ryan Kirby, from Boone, NC, has been painting for SEWE for six years. He says that the artists come from all over, but that locals who attend the event can still expect to see Charleston inspired art.
Ryan Kirby, SEWE Artist, says “There’s an incredible amount of talent. People may or may not realize that this talent comes from all over the country. We have artists from Idaho, Montana, and even South Africa. It’s also a great extension of the southern culture that’s already in Charleston. You will see a lot of marsh scenes. So, even though the artists are from all over the world, the art is very Charleston focused.”
The Charleston Visitors Bureau says that events like SEWE are just as much for locals that they are for tourists. They say that after SEWE, the next major event in the Lowcountry with national exposure is the Food & Wine Festival in March.