It's almost summer, and that means fun festivals for many cities. Though these festivals are often nonprofit events in themselves, they can mean a huge boost in tourism - and money - for the cities hosting them. Here are some of the biggest festivals, and ways their host cities benefit financially. (Use holiday time to teach your children about earning, saving and spending money. Learn how, in Summer: Time For Teaching Your Kids About Money.)
IN PICTURES: 7 Ways To Position Yourself For Recovery

  • New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: April 23-May 2
    The city of New Orleans has seen its share of catastrophes, with hurricane Katrina most notable, but its resilient spirit is evident in the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Better known as Jazz Fest, the festival started in 1970 with an attendance of 350, which has since grown to over 400,000. Twelve stages host the world's biggest names in jazz, blues, gospel and a variety of other music, while Louisiana food and craft booths fill up Congo Square and Louisiana Marketplace. For 2010, the festival boasts names like Simon & Garfunkel, Lionel Richie and Pearl Jam.

    Ticket Cost: $50 a ticket at the gate

    Benefits to New Orleans: For this struggling city, Jazz Fest is only topped by Mardi Gras as a tourist-drawing event. Tourism is New Orleans' largest source of income, adding $210 million to the city's budget every year. (Use the easy tips in Preparing For Nature's Worst to protect your financial interests from natural disasters.)

  • Taste of Chicago: June 24-July 4
    If you're into food, the Taste of Chicago annual festival is the place to be. Each year, Grant Park becomes a lively conglomeration of concerts, crafts and, of course, many food vendors where attendees can taste local and exotic cuisine. The festival has its roots in 1980, when it started as a one-day Fourth of July food celebration. Taste of Chicago has since grown to a more than week-long event, with an estimated attendance of almost 3.5 million people.

    Ticket Cost: The festival and concerts are free. To taste food, you must buy tickets, which run 12 for $8.

    Benefits to Chicago: Although attending the festival is free, Chicago sees a strong boost in tourism income from hotel expenditures (rooms run $200+ a night in the city), food and related travel spending by tourists. With the festival's close proximity to the Fourth of July, visitors are likely to stay on. The city sees over $10 billion in tourism-related revenue annually. (Learn to trim the fat from your grocery bill and reduce the impact of food cost on your budget, in 22 Ways To Fight Rising Food Prices.)

  • Independence Day Celebration in Washington D.C.: July 4
    What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in our nation's capitol? Washington D.C. takes the Fourth of July to a full day of events, with the Smithsonian Folklore Festival, and orchestra and organ concerts. The day is topped by fireworks over the Washington Monument.

    Ticket Cost: Free

    Benefit to Washington D.C.: Tourism is big business for Washington D.C., with July being its peak month. Visitors keep more than 71,000 people employed, and bring $5.64 billion to America's capitol. (Getting to and around your travel destination doesn't need to break the bank. Find out how to travel on a budget, in Save On Planes, Trains And Automobiles.)

  • Oswego Harborfest: July 22-25
    Harborfest started as a small local event in Oswego, NY, and quickly grew to the big summer festival it is today. With its many children's and family events like the Children's Parade, the festival draws families mostly from the local area (roughly 80%), and entertains with food, music and fireworks in the city's harbor. Harborfest boasts an attendance of 250,000.

    Ticket Cost: Free

    Benefits to Oswego: Harborfest brings $32 million to Oswego, and keeps 637 people employed. (Keep the kids out of your hair and wallet by saving on summer camps, sports leagues, day trips and more. Learn how in Budget-Friendly Summer Fun.)

  • Iowa State Fair: August 12-22
    When it comes to its state fair, Iowa goes big in every way, with more than 600 exhibitors and concession stands, plus one of the world's largest livestock shows. The Iowa State Fair has been running since 1854, with more than 1 million visitors annually enjoying the festivities. For 2010, the fair has chosen the theme of "Non-Stop Fun," with musical performances by Kelly Clarkson and Brooks & Dunne.

    Ticket Cost: $7 a day.

    Benefits to Iowa: As the most prominent state fair in the Midwest, the Iowa State Fair draws a large crowd. The state's 105 fairs net more than $227 million for Iowa every year.

  • Bumbershoot (Seattle, WA): September 4-6
    Bumbershoot (slang for umbrella) has been the music and arts event of Seattle since 1971. Held at the Seattle Center, Bumbershoot showcases dance, music and hosts of other arts every Labor Day weekend, with an attendance topping 150,000.

    Ticket Cost: Starts at $60 for the three-day event.

    Benefits to Seattle: In a rough economy, the state of Washington counts on its tourism to keep more than 149,000 people employed - with Seattle generating more than $5 billion annually from tourists' spending. (Find out why moving to a less expensive city may not reduce your expenses, in 10 Reasons Why Moving Might Not Make You Richer.)

Festival Fun
Thinking of going to one of these festivals? They're fun, and often free, which makes it a great outing if you're within driving distance. Something else to feel good about: your attendance keeps city budgets afloat, and people employed at a time when jobs are hard to come by. These festivals are a win-win for everyone, and a great deal of summer fun to boot.

Don't miss what's happening this week in the financial world. Check out Water Cooler Finance: Buffett's Bank Fraud And Financial Eruptions.

Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    Hillary Clinton's Liberal Orthodoxy

    Clinton's economic agenda laid out in July is divided into three broad groups: strong growth, fair growth and long-term growth. And her overarching goal is to "give working families a raise."
  2. Real Estate

    The 5 Best Real Estate Lawyers in Chicago

    Read about some of Chicago's top lawyers working in real estate law, and find out what types of clients they serve and what services they offer.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    10 Chicago-based Startups That Emerged This Century

    Understand why Chicago has become one of the best places to work or start a new business. Learn about the top 10 startups in Chicago.
  4. Economics

    New York's Economy: The 6 Industries Driving GDP Growth

    Learn about the six most influential industries in New York, the most economically productive city in the country, and home of Wall Street and Fifth Avenue.
  5. Real Estate

    Beach House Investing: Best Beach Towns in Long Island, New York

    Learn about the three beach house locations on Long Island that investors should consider for beach house investing projects and key facts.
  6. Retirement

    3 Luxurious New York Retirement Communities

    Discover why retirees are attracted to New York as a retirement destination, and learn more about three of the most luxurious communities in the state.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    The Top 3 Women-Owned Businesses in Seattle

    Read about several of the top companies in Seattle owned by women, and learn more about what sets these companies apart from the competition.
  8. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Five of the Best Yacht Clubs in Seattle

    Seattle doesn’t have a year-round sailing environment, but there are lots of opportunities for boating enthusiasts, from modestly priced to high-end clubs.
  9. Budgeting

    Traveling to Chicago on a Budget

    Discover how to enjoy an exciting Chicago vacation while on a budget, and learn some tips for finding inexpensive things to do on your trip.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    Top 5 Billionaires Living in Chicago

    Discover how the billionaires of Chicago made their fortunes, and uncover what they are doing today to increase their influence in the business world.
  1. How much does seasonality affect the net sales figures of companies, such as retailers?

    Seasonality affects both sales and net sales figures of companies in different ways. For some companies, seasonality has ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What causes politicians or governments to begin "pork barrel" spending?

    Pork barrel spending occurs when the government taxes the general population to hand out concentrated benefits to special ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the best and worst states to pay taxes in?

    Most people can probably guess the two worst states for taxation in the U.S. – New York and California. The two best, Wyoming ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Short Selling

    Short selling is the sale of a security that is not owned by the seller, or that the seller has borrowed. Short selling is ...
  2. Harry Potter Stock Index

    A collection of stocks from companies related to the "Harry Potter" series franchise. Created by StockPickr, this index seeks ...
  3. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  4. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  5. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  6. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
Trading Center