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The Economic Impact of Cultural Events on Local Communities

Photo Credits: Elena Garcia

By Dianna Candido

Think about the last event you went to. Was it a concert, a gala, a fundraising event? Was it a cultural event, where you got to immerse yourself in a world different from your own?

No matter what event you participated in, you may not realize the effect your presence has. Your ticket for entry helped pay for the event space, the security guards at the entrance, or the phenomenal art display you stared at for a full 10 minutes.

With cultural events, the impact goes beyond the entry doors. It goes right into the local gift shop, whose owners are trying to put their kids through college. To the cafe around the corner, who’s owner just opened the doors after dreaming about that moment for their whole life. 

It goes right into the heart of the local community hosting that event.

Cultural Events Have a Measurable Impact on Local Communities

Cultural events aren’t just for fun. 

  • They attract more people to experience a new culture. Without an event to entice crowds, there isn’t always a big enough lure to pull people into those local communities surrounding the event.

  • They teach new ideas, beliefs, and societal norms.  In our ever evolving era of inclusion, exposure is one of the main reasons why cultural events are so incredibly crucial — they bring people together to experience something they’ve never (or rarely) encountered before.

  • They boost the local economy.  Cultural events bring in crowds that in turn support the local business owners. Visitors eat at local restaurants, try the local cafes, engage with local artists, and shop at local shops to bring mementos and gifts home to loved ones. In turn, those business owners invest in events, and the cycle begins again, with the events bringing more people into the community. 

Cultural events don’t just put on a good show — they inspire connection, provide opportunities to expose cultural differences, and bring much needed economy into local communities. The benefits of cultural events start with exposure, but it ends with economic stimulation. 

In San Francisco, Japantown has been one of the communities to see a rise in sales tax revenue over the last few years, and that is partly due to the events drawing people to the area.

Japantown Bolstered by Cultural Events

We recently spoke with Greg Viloria, Community Affairs and Marketing Director of Japan Center Malls, about the impact that cultural events have on local communities. Working in Japantown, Greg gets a first hand look into how these events can have an effect on local business-owners and communities.

“Events is one of the main marketing drivers as we seek to provide a variety of events that attract a wide range of people. Our events attract people who want to know more about Japanese culture, Japanese American culture and Japanese pop culture. Our community needs these types of events to remain culturally relevant to the outside world.”

It’s clear that from a purely social point of view, these events help drive the connection between communities. 

But it also impacts the communities at an economic level.

According to Viloria, Japantown is one of three Japantowns left in the US, making “its uniqueness in providing Japanese culture of various types – through food, shopping and events” extremely rare. You can’t hop on a plane to just any city and experience what San Francisco Japantown has to offer. 

Japantown relies heavily on cultural events to provide the backbone of the community.

“The community at large puts on around 10 or more events throughout the year,” Viloria stated. “The biggest of them, Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, is really an economic foundation for our merchants.” Luckily, “There is always a boost in traffic because of events.” 

Good thing, too, or SF Japantown might lose out on that economic foundation it relies on.

Want to see for yourself? Check out the local events in SF Japantown.

Japantown as a community hosts 10 or more events every year. From the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival to the Japantown MusicFest, there’s something there for everyone.

Join in one the events in SF Japantown, and experience the magic of this unique and beautiful culture. 

Looking to make an impact in your community with an event? Partner with us.

At Unica Party Rentals, we partner with vendors and event coordinators looking to make an impact. We want to support you and your community by providing only the best rentals for your special event. 

“Partnering with Unica has been a great experience. The quality of rentals is greatly appreciated.” —Greg Viloria, Director, Community Affairs and Marketing Director, Japan Center Malls

We believe in what you do. Let us help you do it.


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