By Danielle Ameden
Daily News Staff
Posted Feb. 26, 2016 at 11:01 PM
MetroFest will be back at Bowditch Field in Framingham for the third year in a row, but in the summer, instead of fall.
The arts, music and food truck festival, MetroWest Visitors Bureau’s signature event, will take place Saturday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Executive Director Susan Nicholl announced the date to a crowd of 200 people Friday at the bureau’s 5th annual breakfast at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Westborough.
Area lawmakers and representatives from businesses and cultural attractions throughout the region came together to celebrate gains the bureau has made with its MetroFest and work to promote all that MetroWest has to offer.
According to Nicholl and state Sen. Karen Spilka, the effort has paid off as visitors to MetroWest pumped $931 million in direct spending into the local economy in 2014.
“One billion in revenue, that’s amazing,” said bureau board member Richard Tomanek, general manager at Embassy Suites in Marlborough.
Tomanek said it’s yeomen’s work that Nicholl and the regional tourism council are doing to draw visitors here and encourage them to open their wallets.
Spilka, D-Ashland, told the crowd that revenue tourists generate is a “bright spot in our financial forecast” and provides a boost to cities and towns.
State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, MetroWest Regional Transit Authority Administrator Ed Carr, Massachusetts Special Olympics athlete Beth Donahue and others joined Spilka in highlighting the importance of the four-year-old visitors bureau.
In this global economy era, Eric Morse, senior vice president of Needham Bank, said it’s vital for people who live in MetroWest to also spend their money here.
He said his community bank is an example of the “power of localization.”
“We see local bakeries, we see local restaurants, local hardware stores, local hospitals, all flourishing,” he said. “We see the power of shopping locally, the power of localization.”
The breakfast gave Kenneth Rendell a chance to tell the crowd about his Museum of World War II in Natick.
Donahue, 25, an athlete leader and global messenger for Special Olympics, shared that the organization, which has its Massachusetts headquarters in Marlborough, will host the state’s Special Olympics Tournament of Champions in the city this August.
More than 1,500 athletes will come from all over Massachusetts to compete in bocce, golf, softball and cycling, providing a mini-boon for the region’s economy, she said.
From a tourist standpoint, Spilka said MetroWest competes with other regions of the state, including Cape Cod and the Berkshires, but is an economic engine all its own.
She said MetroWest is often lucky to attract many international tourists, who come for recreation and shopping opportunities, and business travelers who visit the corporate headquarters here. Nicholl said the bureau has totally redesigned its website, www.metrowestvisitors.org, to better show off what the region has to offer.