GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gilda’s LaughFest will celebrates its fifth anniversary next year.
Organizers announced LaughFest will return to Grand Rapids March 5-15, 2015.
The festival of laughter brought in $3.2 million to the Grand Rapids area, according to preliminary results of an economic impact study from Grand Valley State University.
“We are excited as we ramp-up efforts for our fifth year,” said Joanne Roehm, festival director of LaughFest. “Last year more than 50,000 individuals purchased tickets to LaughFest. We are happy with the results for LaughFest, but we are extremely pleased to show the economic impact LaughFest has created for Grand Rapids and the region.”
LaughFest is the nation’s only 10-day community-wide festival of laughter and attracted 50,000 attendees from across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom during it fourth annual event.
The festival features laughter in all its forms from stand-up comedy and improv to film, music, and a variety of other events.
Other highlights from the economic impact study show $1.7 million in new spending occurred in the region, with spending by individuals from outside Grand Rapids increasing 50 percent this year compared to last year.
Per person spending during 2013’s LaughFest was $34.48 and increased to $49.97 during the festival’s 2014 event, a 45 percent increase. The per person spending takes into account such items as lodging, meals and transportation costs, which are additional to the costs associated with buying tickets to LaughFest shows.
“When LaughFest began in 2011, our goal was to create a festival of laughter for the health of it that would not only raise awareness for the programs of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, but raise awareness for the West Michigan region,” said Wendy Wigger, president of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. “We are thrilled the numbers presented by the economic impact study show that LaughFest is a primary reason individuals are visiting the region.”
The fourth annual LaughFest held this past March raised $235,000 to support Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, which provides support for people affected by cancer.
LaughFest has raised more than $1 million in its four years.