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Organizers say BLINK could expand beyond its current schedule

People lay on the ground beneath a light display at Smale Riverfront Park, during the first night of Blink, 2022.
Bill Rinehart
People lay on the ground beneath a light display at Smale Riverfront Park, during the first night of Blink, 2022.

2022's BLINK generated about $126 million over the four-day weekend in October. That's according to a report from the Cincinnati Chamber's Center for Research and Data.

BLINK Executive Director Justin Brookhart says the festival's focus is — and will remain — a local event, but they would like to attract more visitors.

"How we look at doing that, there are a few different ways," he says. "Part of it is by making sure we're curating and commissioning work from world-class artists that have a dedicated audience of people that are willing to travel and check out their work. We're also doing some targeted marketing to places that are within a relatively short drive, from some larger hubs. So we take a look at places like Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, Pittsburgh."

Seven percent of respondents to a survey spent the night in a hotel. The study reports out-of-town visitors spent a total of $22.7 million on lodging, food and retail purchases.

RELATED: BLINK director reports a few bumps, no major bruises, for festival's first night

The Chamber surveyed nearly 2,500 of the estimated 2 million people who attended. Only about 10% were from out of town.

"We got some assessments on the quality of the event, certainly where people came from, what people did once they came here. We also found out where people heard about the event," he says. "The most common response was just word of mouth. Which is always great for the fact that this is an event that really started out entirely as a community-driven public art event, and continues to be an event that's driven based on the quality and scale of what we produce."

Brookhart says BLINK drew people from nearly 320 different zip codes. That's up from 168 in 2019, the last year for the event.

Brookhart says BLINK could expand beyond its current every-other-year schedule. "Myself and some of the other BLINK partners are discussing what that could look like, whether or not that's taking elements of BLINK on the road and traveling to other places with it. Or whether or not we want to think about other ways that BLINK could just show up inside the Cincinnati community in our off-season years," he says.

RELATED: 'Everything was packed' during BLINK 2022

Among those surveyed, 59% said they heard about BLINK through word of mouth and about 70% said they were likely to recommend the experience to friends.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.