Workers raise the White Big Top for Cavalia

Workers raise the White Big Top for Cavalia

Cavalia Big Top provides big economic boost to Redmond

The City of Redmond stands to receive a big economic boost as Cavalia, a world-class equestrian and performing arts show, will be at King County's Marymoor Park from Jan. 18 to Feb. 5, 2012.

The City of Redmond stands to receive a big economic boost as Cavalia, a world-class equestrian and performing arts show, will be at King County‘s Marymoor Park from Jan. 18 to Feb. 5, 2012.

Cavalia has been on tour throughout North America and Europe since 2003 and this will be the show’s second time in the Pacific Northwest. The show was previously in Renton in 2004.

Ann Delarosbil, market development manager for Cavalia, said, “We evaluate the economic impact (of the show) of about $10 million.”

Of this $10 million, which she said is an average amount for the cities they visit, about $5 million is spent on preparing for the show, promotion through local advertising companies and hiring about 200 local employees for customer service, tech support, site preparation and other jobs. She said the preparations for the show usually begin about four weeks before opening night and there is about a week after the run for teardown, which brings the Montreal-based Cavalia to town for 11 to 12 weeks.

“So that has significant impacts economically,” Delarosbil said.

Karen Nolz, tourism program administrator for the City of Redmond, said when big shows or events such as Cavalia come to town, they can apply for a city grant to help cover expenses. In the case of Cavalia, she said City Council has approved a $10,000 grant for the event. However, they would only receive the money if they meet a specific set of criteria and this would happen after the show’s run at Marymoor is finished.

Nolz said the money for these grants come from a 1 percent tourism tax local hotels charge, which goes to the city.


Delarosbil said about 150 Cavalia employees will stay in Redmond for the duration of the show.

“Lodging is very important,” she said.

Local hotels also receive business from out-of-towners who come to the area for the show and stay overnight or for the weekend. Delarosbil said on average, about 15 percent of their ticket sales come from people who commute anywhere from three to five hours to see the show. In addition to staying in local hotels, they will frequent restaurants, shops and retailers in the area as well.

Delarosbil also said retailers see about a 25 percent increase in business when Cavalia is in town and the eateries in the area become more packed.

Christina Henning, senior manager in marketing for Redmond Town Center (RTC) can attest to this.

She said in the past, when Cirque du Soleil or other big-top shows have come to Marymoor, RTC has worked with the King County Parks and Recreation department and show producers to create partnerships to benefit RTC retailers, the show and attendees.

One way they do this, Henning said, is to have RTC staff onsite as concierges at Marymoor and one of the biggest inquiries they receive from people is about where to eat. She said in the past, show goers would make about 30 reservations at RTC restaurants before matinees so attendees would have somewhere to eat after the show.

“We definitely had the opportunity to educate people out Redmond and Redmond Town Center,” Henning said, referring all the different questions people would ask them. “We kind of just became the keepers of the information.”


Because Cavalia will be in town in the winter, Henning is not sure if they will be able to provide similar concierge services because people probably will not want to spend too much time out in the cold.

Another way RTC may work with Cavalia is through cross promotion, which they have done with past shows. The town center would have signage promoting the show in town and the shows in turn, will inform attendees about dining options and possible discounts for show-goers, Henning said.

She added that people coming from outside Redmond would get to town early to beat the traffic and retailers benefit from the extra foot traffic.

“(Show attendees) would definitely browse some of the stores,” she said. “It’s really hard to put an exact dollar amount on it, but the foot traffic draw is significant.”

Delarosbil said not only do people who see their show frequent the local businesses, but the Cavalia team does so as well.


Danielle Lynch, interim president and chief executive officer for the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce, also said they notice the impact of big events. She said the chamber will work with event and show producers and refer them to hotels, restaurants, retailers and other chamber member businesses, but unlike the town center, they can’t offer discounts or deals.

Lynch said a big benefit of these events is bringing people to the city and exposing attendees to Redmond businesses.

Nolz said offering world-class entertainment in town or nearby such as Cavalia will help make Redmond a destination for tourists and enhance the community both culturally and economically, especially because Cavalia will hire local employees.

“I definitely think it’s important (to hold these types of events),” she said.

Henning added that having big shows in the area introduces people to Redmond.

“It’s a great thing to put Redmond on the map. There are a lot of reasons that people from the region might want to visit Redmond on a regular basis,” she said. “So this type of event that has a regional draw really does a great job of introducing people to what Redmond has to offer, including Redmond Town Center.”

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